SHU students launch business making plant pots from recycled plastics found in Sheffield’s rivers

By Jim Jefferies

A group of four Sheffield Hallam University students have launched a range of plant pots made from recycled plastics found in the city’s rivers.

Three of the young entrepreneurs with their plant pots

Dominic Lewis, Oscar Keenan, Max Sudbury, and Tommy Linnett came up with the idea for the business, called Flod, in lockdown.

Their first batch of 20 pots sold out in around 37 minutes. Each pot is sold at £30 with no two being the same.

During lockdown they had to use a panini press and a blender to work with the plastics at home.

The students have three primary goals, the first being to work with local charities which they have started to do already.

They have teamed up with the Don Catchment Rivers Trust which has helped to collect the necessary materials. The group donates 5% of their sales to the charity.

Their second goal is to help clean up green spaces. Dominic said: “We are trying to become more hands on with local people.

“There is a Facebook group for people who litter pick in Sheffield. We want to create more of a community.”

The pots are made from old bottle caps and milk cartons

The third goal is to create an eco-friendly product, which is the plant pot they have designed.

Their products are comprised of two parts. The first is a plastic drip tray made from high-density polyethylene found in bottle caps and milk cartons collected from the river.

The second part is the pot itself; made from a unique mixture of jesmonite and glass. Jesmonite is a water-based concrete alternative that contains no volatile organic compounds and is completely eco-friendly. 

In every pot there is 520g of recycled material and the rest is then made from jesmonite.

Now with access to the university’s workshops, they have been able to create moulds to help them work with their materials, but they are hanging on to the panini press.

Dominic said: “Out of all the equipment we have been able to use, the one piece of equipment we still use is the panini press. There is something about it, we can’t get rid of it.”

Flod is Middle English and Swedish for river

Oscar Keenan

Oscar said they came up with the name Flod because of its links to rivers and a short name fits their minimalist style.

He said: “The word Flod is Middle English for river and is also Swedish for river. 

“This ties very well to the whole idea of the company being all about river protection though litter picks and the product being made using these wasted pollutants.“

Dominic, Max and Oscar are studying product design and Tommy is studying marketing. The four set up the busines as part of the enterprise placement year run by SHU.

Oscar said: “It’s been a great opportunity for putting the theory we learned in our courses into the real world.”

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