Credit: Bilum

Bilum - made in France upcycling

Posted on 20 April 2017.

What do the advertising tarpaulins covering the façades of buildings under construction have in common with old flags? At the end of their life Bilum turns them into objects that are not only beautiful but also useful!

After working for ten years in an events and communication agency selling "hundreds of thousands of square meters of giant advertising tarpaulins", Hélène de La Moureyre decided to leave her old life behind and in 2005 founded Bilum.

Every object is unique. The patterns, cuts from the material, assembly and shapes are all different.

Her idea? To reuse these very tough and colorful tarps to create a collection of bags and accessories but with two objectives: work only with recovered materials to upcycle them, and opt for responsible, 100% French high quality manufacturing.

From advertising to upcycling

Following on from the enormous advertising tarps in company and brand colors, Bilum quickly expanded its materials to include other things such as seat belts, life jackets and airbags, flags, sports jerseys and sails.

The waste is recovered and transported to the Bilum workshop in the Paris suburb of Choisy-le-Roi (Val-de-Marne). The waste is carefully selected, cut, and cleaned by the staff of a social enterprise company and then sent to different partner workshops where the bags and accessories are made up.

Businesses are increasingly calling on the design company to showcase materials that are part of their heritage. Like the Club Med 2 sails or Air France lifejackets.

Right at the heart of the circular economy

Bilum uses no natural resources: its raw materials are anything that would otherwise have been destroyed or thrown away. By recovering and transforming this waste, the company both helps to reduce waste – such as the hundreds of thousands of square meters of advertising tarps that are abandoned each year in France after only a few weeks of use - and saves resources.

But Bilum's commitment does not end there. From the preparation of materials to the manufacture of the bags and accessories, the whole process is French, short circuit and local. Bilum works with some ten workshops specializing in saddlery, leather goods and luggage, half of which are establishments that help disabled people through work.

Since its creation in 2006, Bilum has produced over 100 000 pieces, representing 35 000m2 of saved material (approximately 13 tons). thanks to the 70 people working in its partner workshops.