Tension belts ensure that tonnes of cargo are transported on flat racks at HHLA’s fixed-stop terminals every day. However, the high-quality belts are only used once for safety reasons – micro-cracks in the material can occur very easily, which could pose an avoidable hazard when transporting subsequent loads.
But this does not mean that the tension belts have reached the end of their life. On the contrary, they are now being put to a new, more stylish use. In order to avoid wasting materials, HHLA has been working with the Bavarian textile manufacturer Maxx Factory since 2020. The company uses the discarded tension belts for its innovative, sustainable and robust bags.
In the “Urban Upcycling” collection, these elegant designs take a variety of forms – as backpacks, weekend bags, shoulder bags, waist packs or even as accessories such as key rings. All of them boast integrated orange tension belts that are a charming nod to the belts’ former use. The remaining materials are carefully selected with a focus on sustainability and environmental compatibility. The designs include washable paper from Scandinavia and natural rubber. By the end of 2021, around 1,000 “made in Bavaria” bags had already been produced.
Production is not only a labour of love for the 30-strong Maxx Factory team, but also a challenge: the robust high-quality fabrics mean that they are not as easy to work with and sew as lighter materials.
The belts’ diverse potential and the designers’ creativity have already given us hope for further collections. The finished products go on to be sold by specialist retailers. They are the ideal promotional items for companies who wish to highlight their commitment to sustainability. The bags are also on sale at the HHLA shop. Seeing the belts get a second life gives us a bit of a thrill.