Tokai Rika Corporation, an automotive parts manufacturer headquartered in Oguchi-cho, Aichi Prefecture, produces seatbelt devices that protect the safety of people riding in cars.
In 2020, Tokai Rika conducted an internal competition for new business ideas among all employees. The 1,904 views were gathered from the company employees and were carefully narrowed down and stratified into ten themes. Among them were many ideas to consider contributing to a recycling-oriented society through the use of seatbelt scraps. Seatbelt end materials are inevitably produced in the production process. The factory has started improvement activities to reduce the amount of scrap materials from the process and reduce the amount of waste without spending extra energy by upcycling the seat belts, characterized by their durability and high quality.
We use scraps of wood to create things of value. We named the brand name of our activities "Think Scrap." The name is a combination of the English words "Think" (meaning "think" in Japanese) and "Scrap" (meaning "scrap" in Japanese). It means "to consider how to use scrap materials best.
The idea of "using scraps to create something of value" led to the birth of Think Scrap, but there was a significant challenge. Tokai Rika cannot perform complicated sewing operations for seat belts. Think Scrap needed a sewing factory partner. We consulted with various sewing factories but still await positive responses.
Encounter with a Sewing Factory
It all started on May 17, 2021, with a beautiful meeting with Maruka Corporation (from now on referred to as Maruka). While we were inquiring about various sewing factories, we received a call from Maruka asking us to meet with them in person. The project manager immediately explained the concept of Think Scrap's activities, showing them the pen case design he had created. Maruka sent us a sample of the Think Scrap pen case only two days later.
Encounter with Local Scrap Materials
When we thought our product lineup was limited only by seatbelt scraps, we asked ourselves, "Aren't manufacturers in other industries also struggling with utilizing the scraps generated in the production process?" We then approached several companies with the idea, "Are manufacturers in other industries also struggling with how to use the offcuts generated in the production process?
We asked them, "Would you be willing to let us make something valuable by combining seatbelt and curtain scraps?" Team Like Co., Ltd. gladly accepted our proposal.
Think Scrap's GoalsWe manufacture and sell products that combine seat belts and local scrap materials that inevitably end up in our factories. Upcycling by utilizing the original texture and functionality of the offcuts reduces the amount of waste without using unnecessary energy in the process. In addition, by transforming them into high-value-added products, we can monetize them. As a result, our goal is to continue sustainable activities by contributing to revitalizing local communities.