If you’ve just stumbled upon Dunsel’s Sail Bags, you might find yourself asking some of these questions...
What does Dunsel mean?
The word Dunsel is an old, mariner's word that originates references waste or uselessness on a ship. It is defined as: something (or someone) on a ship that no longer has a purpose, or can no longer be used. We chose this word to represent our brand and company as the materials we work with are Dunsels, or were. The irony card is at play here.
Why would I want to buy a bag (or anything) made from upcycled materials?
By using upcycled materials as opposed to raw materials you are really doing 2 things:
- You are keeping massive quantities of synthetic, plastic textiles out of landfills. Polyester, vinyl, and canvas are either wholly or in part made from synthetic fibers which are derived from petroleum based plastics. When materials are not upcycled, they will otherwise end up in the landfill, and break down into an armada of microplastics over time. These microplastics ultimately find their way into our groundwater and in the ocean. Never breaking down, and choking our environments are only the beginning of the list of consequences. See the chart below provided by the EPA on how textiles are and have been discarded over time.
- Using upcycled materials instead of brand-new, raw materials reduces our collective carbon footprint. The environmental toll that is spent on manufacturing, transporting, and processing virgin materials is unacceptable.
Not only is upcycling materials a much better option for the environment, but you oftentimes wind up with one of a kind pieces that are part of the solution.
Is my bag dirty?
Every bag goes through a comprehensive cleaning process that eliminates years of dirt and grime from a previous life at sea. We do our best to brighten them up, and remove anything that may harm you. While we cannot guarantee that every bag will be brilliantly white, we can guarantee that markings, blemishes, and discolorations are true ‘battle wounds’ that give each bag its own character and identity. Every imperfection tells a story, and the beautiful thing is these stories don't end at the boatyard anymore. You can give a whole new life to this material as a bag!
How is your material sustainably sourced?
All of our products are made from upcycled marine textile waste. We started with dead sailboat sails and have branched off to using marine canvas, vinyl, upholstery, and other outdoor fabrics. We work with salty individuals, businesses, sailing associations, and cut-and-sew manufacturers to take their fabric waste. For example, we go on sourcing trips where we will drive the outline of Florida's coastline and stop at tens of places to pick up dead fabric before returning to our facility in Tallahassee, Florida, to clean, cut, and process all of the material we pick up.
How and where are your products made?
All of our products are manufactured from end to end in Florida. After we process our waste fabric our team at Dunsel's works to cut the thousands of small pieces it takes to make our products. After the fabric is cut it either stays in the workshop where we sew a portion of the products ourselves or gets sent to Naples Florida to our trusted sewing contractor. If you were to break down the time it takes to make our products from fabric collection to a completed product Dunsel's does about 80% of the hands on work. We have a great working relationship with our sewing contractor so we not only know their labor practices but because we appreciate what they do for us!
How sustainable are Dunsel's Products?
We aim to be as transparent as possible with our sustainability. We are working on getting carbon footprint calculations but we know we have stopped around 8,000 pounds of harmful marine fabrics from going into landfills. All the fabric we receive is nylon or polyester meaning all of it will turn into micro-plastics in the landfill. One way we look our sustainability is that we are not only taking from the waste that other companies are creating but also selling substitute products that decrease the demand for products made from virgin materials. We spend extra on product construction to ensure a long lifetime because it spreads out the carbon footprint of manufacturing the fabric.
What's the deal with the color combinations?
We design our products around the fabrics we can source from the waste stream. We have general color pallets but ultimately will use whatever we have, and sometimes, we get more of one color than another. Also, we try to be different because our customers do not fit into one mold.