Recyclable Wooly Cooler

Looking to offer outdoor-enthusiasts a more eco-friendly solution than your typical polyurethane-walled cooler, or even worse, one of the disposable styrofoam variety, startup Wool Street has come to the party with the world’s first wool-insulated cooler. Stylishly pieced together entirely from recyclable materials, the Wooly cooler comes with a couple of handy extra features and is claimed to retain ice for up to three days.

The Wooly cooler has a capacity of 52 quarts (50 L) and enough space inside for 78 12-oz cans of beer. It measures 14.9 x 26.6 in (37.8 x 62.5 cm) along its sides and stands 13.7 in (34.8 cm) tall, with a total weight of 18.3 lb (8.3 kg). Its housing, meanwhile, is made from a mix of fully recyclable stainless steel and aluminum.

On either side is a sturdy handle inspired by vintage seatbelt buckles that combine to support loads up to 100 lb (45 kg), and work with turn-and-lock latches to secure the lid and create an airtight seal. Conveniently built into the top of that lid is a cutting board made from bamboo, which sits atop tackle-box-style hinges that allow it to effortlessly pop up and away for access to the chilled contents inside.

Aside from eschewing difficult-to-recycle hard plastics in favor of steel and aluminum, the real point of difference with the Wooly cooler can be found inside its walls. Polyurethane foam typically used as an insulator in coolers is tricky to recycle, involves the use of harmful chemicals to produce, and emits harmful gases during decomposition, so Wool Street turned to a greener substitute in the form of 100-percent natural sheep’s wool.

The team tested out different kinds of batts, loose fill and bonded wool insulation of varying thicknesses and settled on a type of batt that offered optimal performance. They claim it insulated just as effectively as polyurethrane in their cooler testing, and was able to retain ice for three days.

Other neat features of the Wooly cooler include a drainage hole that accepts standard US garden hoses to empty out the melted ice, and an optional tray attachment that sits inside and keeps things like sandwiches, salad and other perishables away from the moisture.

Wool Street is offering its cooler in both a natural aluminum and charcoal finish, and bills it as the world’s first fully recyclable cooler. We have seen other eco-friendly coolers designed to lessen the load on the environment, such as Igloo’s biodegradable Recool, but the Wooly does seem to be a much more durable solution.

It is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, where early pledges of US$200 will have you in line for one when shipping kicks off in March next year if all goes to plan.

Fully recyclable Wooly cooler packs its walls with wool instead of foam [New Atlas]

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