Back in August last year EGU’s Laura Roberts-Artal chatted with Sandra de Vries to discuss her new company REpost, which recycles old fabric conference posters into new products, such as bags or even clothes!
Today at the European Geoscience Union General Assembly, we caught up with Sandra and one of her satisfied customers, Dr Rolf Hut from TU Delft to find out what REpost has been up to in the last year.
Hi Sandra! First of all, can you give us a reminder of what REpost is all about?
So I started REpost three years ago when I was a masters student in hydrology water management at TU Delft and I was a poster assistant, here at EGU and I had to throw away the conference posters at the end of the day, which people apparently didn’t want to have any more. And I thought it was a sad thing because I could do so much more fun things with them. So actually I didn’t throw them away, I kept them and I made them into a beach bag and a dress, for fun, and they actually looked pretty awesome! I even made a hydrological pencil skirt and I did my thesis presentation wearing it!
Since Laura spoke to you last year, what has been happening with REpost poster?
At the end of my Masters I realised that I still want to do work on research, I want to do hydrology, I want to stay in the water sector, but I had to balance that with running REpost. So, what I did was I started contacting these ‘social working places’, which are places where you work together with disabled people or with people coming back into working society and these working places found a very good way of making, for example this bag, which is a sample version. Now I’m kind of facilitating for anyone who wants to REpost or upcycle their poster into something else and I do it together with those working places.
Then of course after the EGU said ‘wow, this is a good idea and if you want you can promote the idea at the EGU’, then I knew that I had a pilot location and I knew that I could actually see if people were interested in this. And I started kind of figuring out if indeed it was possible: can I do this with social working places, can I do it logistically, can I make my own website, you know? Whilst still doing my other jobs.
From your experience, what kinds of posters work best for REposting?
It is like with normal posters actually, the more visuals you have, the more it is eye catching. So for example indeed you said, you have the fish, that’s something that people look at. Or for example if you have the back side this is also something that people say ‘Hey what’s that?’ It’s like a graph, and there’s a map, what’s on the map, you know? And then people start asking you about your research because that’s actually what I found out is the most fun about it because you have the recycling part, which is nice, but I really think that you could show your scientific message on such a nice and more cool way and you can reach more people than just conference people, you can reach your neighbour and tell them about research and your research and make it more reachable for anybody in the world! That’s what I really like about it.
Doctor Engineer Dr. Ir. Rolf Hut is a MacGyver geoscientist specialising in hydrological data and sensor design. Today he is wearing one of REpost’s upcycled outfits to present his poster on programmable off-the-shelf GPS loggers that can be used and recovered in large river experiments.
So, Rolf, why did you want a data suit made by Sandra?
Well I really loved Sandra’s idea of being able to reuse posters, a lot of people take fabric posters with them, I’ve used them in the past and then whenever we have the opportunity. So last week in the Netherlands I was presenting something at an event where our former queen and some princesses would be, as well as a lot of press and so I thought it would be awesome to be able to show something that you made! Then Sandra just came over to me, “we should just do a suit!” So we just made a complete suit, this one [that Rolf is wearing], and then it went awesome, because they loved it. It got attention because they come to you, because it’s weird! So you explain what it is.. and then you get the opportunity to just give them a soldering iron and say ‘now you are going to make something’, right there. That was really good, I thoroughly enjoyed that.
If anyone is interested in upcycling their poster, Sandra has some useful advice:
Really look at the type of material if you want to REpost it; I recommend flag sheet, it might be a little see-through, but it is very flexible and very cheap and then we can do anything you want with it!
Interview by Hazel Gibson and video by Kai Boggild, Press Assistants at EGU 2017 General Assembly