Case study: Ricoh's recycled scooter stands

Case study: Ricoh's recycled scooter stands
A lightbulb moment led to an innovative initiative to recycle plastic.

Ricoh New Zealand has launched an innovative new recycling project that will deliver benefits to schools and homes throughout New Zealand.

The company is spearheading a new initiative to create stands for children’s scooters – made with plastic from recycled Ricoh toner cartridges. The idea is the brainchild of Murray Clark, marketing manager for Ricoh New Zealand.

“My son came home one day last year and said his school was looking into getting scooter stands,” Clark explains.

“My wife is a primary school teacher, and she agreed that her school – like many other primary and intermediate schools – were in need of an affordable and practical solution to their ‘scooter parking’ problems.

“The growing popularity of scooters means lots of kids are bringing them into schools – but they often don’t have anywhere to park them.

“Leaving them lying around can create a hazard, as well as encroach on the available play areas.”

Ricoh has previously promoted park benches made from recycled plastic, to demonstrate waste being put to good use rather than being sent to landfill. That planted the seed of his idea.

Clark began developing wooden prototype designs for a scooter stand, while also researching the feasibility of using recycled plastics. He began collaborating with Plastech Industries, a Christchurch-based plastic ‘manufacturer of ideas’.

“The team at Plastech established that a 50/50 mix of recycled and new plastic was the optimum mix for a product that would flow smoothly into the mould and create a quality product in every respect including functionality and durability,” Clark says.

“We also worked together on refining the design before arriving at the final version.”

ricoh scooter docks made from recycled toner cartridges​They are single ‘Scooter Docks’ that can be securely connected together and configured to any number of docks required. The design also allows the handlebars to turn up to 90 degrees – which saves space when several scooters are in line, and ensures the handlebars don’t get tangled up.

For added security, the docks can also be bolted to the ground, and there is a facility built-in so each scooter can be attached with a cable or chain lock.

Clark says the new initiative is a good fit with Ricoh’s business ethos – which is to provide customers with solutions.

“We have a lot of schools who use Ricoh for their copiers, printers and IT solutions. So we’re delighted to provide another type of solution, especially as scooter parking has become such an issue for many schools.”

Not only does it solve a very real problem for schools, but it’s also a way for Ricoh to put quantities of its recycled plastic to good use. Ricoh’s used toner cartridges are collected by Croxley Recycling, which then arranges to have the plastic transported to the Christchurch manufacturing facility.

“From Ricoh’s point of view it’s fantastic to see our plastic waste being recycled and put to such good use here in New Zealand,” Clark says.

Following the official launch, Ricoh plans to donate a number of Scooter Docks to schools and community organisations.

They can also be used by schools as a fundraiser, by selling them to the parents for use at home. This initiative will enable schools to fund additional scooter docks for use at the school, or to help fund other worthwhile projects.

As Clark explains, other commercially produced scooter stands available in the market are priced at around $20 to $25.

“Based on our funding plan, for every Ricoh Scooter Dock a school on-sells, they will be able to fund the purchase of another for their school. Or they could use the scheme as general fundraising project.

“Ricoh is excited to be offering this environmentally sustainable solution to schools. We see it as a win-win solution.”

Like to know more about Ricoh’s recycled scooters? Email recycle@ricoh.co.nz for details. 

WIN!

We have five Ricoh scooter docks to give away to readers. To be in to win, email us at editor@idealog.co.nz and tell us what else you reckon Ricoh could craft out of recycled toner cartridges. Open to NZ residents only, closes January 31.