A former Brunel University student, Simon Mitchinson, has developed a disposable rucksack that is strong enough to carry lunches and light goods and yet cheap enough to throw away when it is finished.
The rucksack, which was developed at home by Simon, a 34-year-old Brunel University engineering graduate, won a Gold Medal at the recent British Invention Show held at Alexandra Palace.
Simon, who now lives in Bracknell, first thought of the idea one afternoon while carrying three empty rucksacks that had contained a family picnic around a theme park. A search on the Internet showed that there were no throwaway bags available other than carrier bags - so Simon decided to develop the product himself.
For the past 18 months, under the name of ‘The Paper Rucksack Company’, Simon has been developing these rucksacks, or ‘Piggy Pacs.’ Following the success of initial tests among family and friends, he went on to trial them with schoolchildren going on school trips and to summer camps.
Simon says, “The essential requirements in my mind were that the bag had to be strong and comfortable to wear in order to be useable, but also environmentally friendly and very cheap, in order to be disposable.”
His paper rucksacks are recycled, recyclable and biodegradable but also strong enough to carry around 2kg comfortably. The bags easily survive rainfall long enough for the user to find shelter. They retail at £2.99 for a pack of 10.
He concludes, “The rucksacks will mainly be used by children going on school trips and on days out to theme parks, the beach and other tourist attractions. They are also ideal promotional bags for companies to use at shows and exhibitions.”
The Gold Medal was awarded because of the rucksacks’ originality, practicality and commercial potential. Simon is currently selling the bags online at www.paperrucksacks.co.uk, but is looking for support to produce the bags commercially on a large scale.