Breathing New Life into Salvaged Car Airbags

The automotive industry generates a great amount of waste, particularly from airbags that fail to meet quality standards or become obsolete due to advancements in materials and technology. These discarded airbags present a unique opportunity for upcycling, turning potential waste into valuable resources. By repurposing these materials, creative initiatives can breathe new life into them, reusing them into innovative and eco-friendly products. Below, we explore a fascinating set of creations from various brands that have successfully upcycled airbags, showcasing their sustainable transformation into new forms and giving them a second life.


Upcycled Airbag Street Furniture

Bolt, a European mobility company known for its ride-hailing, food, and grocery delivery services through its app, has partnered with Interesting Times Gang, a circular design studio from Sweden, to launch "Living Vroom." This incredible street furniture collection is crafted from upcycled automotive parts, repurposing nearly 40kgs of car airbags, including lamps and furniture made from detonated airbags. Searching for a unique upcycling material, they discovered that airbags, with their unique texture, could be used to create a one-of-a-kind furniture collection. The upcycled pieces will be strategically placed in select urban areas, transforming them into welcoming spaces that features sustainability and the creative reuse of waste materials. The team proudly claims that this is the world’s first street furniture collection made from upcycled car parts, especially airbags.

(Image credit: Bolt x Interesting Gang Times - Living Vroom Collection)


Upcycled Airbag Bags

Freitag, a Swiss brand known for repurposing used truck tarps into bags and accessories, continuously seeks innovative ways to extend the life of unwanted materials. Their latest initiative features unique, one-of-a-kind backpacks and shoulder bags named 'Firebird' and 'Arrow' under the collection 'Once Airbags, Now Bags.' These items are crafted from discarded, accident-free airbags and truck tension belts. The team faced challenges in sourcing clean, usable airbags, but eventually secured the materials from a recycling center in the Netherlands. In designing the bags, Freitag focused on minimising fabric waste while retaining the original shape of the airbags, simply maintaining their unique airbag effect in the final upcycled products.

(Image credit: Freitag Upcycled Airbags - Arrow and Firebird)


Celebrating 40 Years of Airbags 

In 2021, the global luxury automotive giant Mercedes-Benz celebrated 40 years of the airbag by partnering with Heron Preston, the American luxury designer label. This collaboration produced an experimental apparel collection crafted from reimagined old airbags used in crash tests. The collection featured upcycled puffer jackets and workwear, marking a striking and unconventional use of upcycled materials in the fashion industry. This unexpected partnership drew attention to the creative potential of upcycled materials and the celebration of milestones in airbag technology. The collection was not available for purchase in stores or online; instead, it was offered through a limited auction, providing the exclusivity and unique concept of upcycling these materials to honour the legacy of airbag technology.

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz x Heron Preston Airbag Collection)


Upcycled Airbag Cushions

The Upcycl, a Danish upcycling enterprise, is a member of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's community, dedicated to supporting circular economy practices. This innovative business works on waste reduction by keeping materials in use through its unique service of sourcing and supplying new waste materials. In collaboration with FÓLK Reykjavik, an Icelandic interior and sustainable lifestyle brand, The Upcycl has successfully sourced discarded airbags to create upcycled airbag cushions. This project skillfully uses automotive waste, upcycling it into stylish home accessories. The inner part of these cushions are also thoughtfully repurposed, crafted from leftover textiles, like bed linen and curtains from IKEA and other upcycled materials, adding sustainability in every aspect of production.

(Image credit: The Upcycl x FÓLK Reykjavik Airbag Cushions)


Upcycled Airbag Skiwear

Kanghyuk, a sustainable apparel and accessories brand from South Korea, partnered with Hyosung in 2021, particularly its sustainable division, Hyosung Advanced Materials, to create an exclusive upcycled skiwear collection. This eco-friendly line had mindfully reimagined leftover airbag fabrics, which Hyosung had deemed unsellable due to inconsistent specifications. Offered as a pre-order collection, these materials were upcycled into stylish and protective skiwear for both men and women. This partnership between Kanghyuk and Hyosung breathed new life into defunct airbags and stayed committed to reduce environmental waste by diverting these materials from landfills.

(Image credit: Kanghyuk x Hyosung Advanced Materials Skiwear Collection)

In reimagining the life cycle of car airbags and their potential for sustainability within the automotive and fashion industries, transforming what would have been waste into productive items, positions these brands as leaders in environmental responsibility. The upcycled pieces tell stories of innovation and represents a conscious step towards a more sustainable future. As we continue to push the limits to explore and expand the boundaries of upcycling, these initiatives serve as inspiring examples of how we can repurpose materials to benefit the planet by reducing waste.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

You may also like

View all
Example blog post
Example blog post
Example blog post