Amplify Environmental Friendliness

Amanda Lepinski
April 9, 2012
Filed under Blog, Misc. Camping Gear

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Children of the 90s were inspired by environmentally focused entertainment such as, “Captain Planet and the Planeteers – a cartoon about a team of action heroes working together to save the Earth from destruction and educate humans about environmental protection and preservation. Although the show has since been canceled, the message lives on. Especially in the case of two California guys who teamed up to create a fun, on-the-go sound system that everyone can enjoy by repurposing electronic parts and beverage cans. How’s that for planeteering?

Trash Amps, an environmentally friendly way to listen to music.

Friends, Adam Wegener and Ron Sloat, both 2009 engineering graduates of Cal Poly (California Polytechnic State University) decided to take their love of preserving the environment, engineering and music into one idea: Trash Amps. Trash Amps are a type of sound system that operates out of the inside of an empty beverage can. Appropriately, the company motto is, “Reuse it for music.”

While most of us recycle beverage cans, Wegener and Sloat had another fate for these cans than a recycling factory. To remain committed to preserving the environment, Wegener says that he and Sloat developed Trash Amps to “get people to think further about stuff they already have.” Who would’ve thought that the can of soda sitting on a picnic table during dinner could one day sit on someone else’s picnic table as a sound system? The speaker insert inside each can is created from regrind material (old parts ground up and made into something new) and the electronic parts that make the product work are from local electronic surplus shops – or repurposed electronic parts.

The dynamic duo acquires cans from just about everywhere. Wegener confesses that he collects interesting cans whenever he’s away on vacation and that the coolest can he has ever come across was an old Olympia beer can. During the past 15 months, the company has flourished, selling roughly 1,200 Trash Amps combos.

Trash Amps look like a regular can from the outside, but contain a special sound system with retractable cord inside. The can is topped with a grill to protect the internal sound system.

On the outside, Trash Amps looks like a regular soda can, but in this case you can’t judge a book, or can, by its cover. Here’s how they do it: Cans are cut across the top, where a magnetic grill replaces to top of the can. On the inside, a speaker insert composed of a speaker, retractable cord and three AAA batteries ensure 20+ hours of music, are tucked neatly inside the can. The switch on the inside of the can offers three options: Off, Jam (if you’re having a guitar jam session or prefer a louder range of tunes) and Chill (perfect for adding lighter music to a campfire chat). Plugging into most MP3 players, guitars and iPods/iPhones, Trash Amps creates portable speakers for just about anywhere you go – campsite, hiking or a boat.

Continuing their green efforts, Trash Amps are not assembled in a factory – Wegener, Sloat and a few friends create each individual Trash Amps combo. Yet another friend designs the artwork for the logo, website and the cardboard container each Trash Amps combo is shipped in. When Trash Amps arrives on your doorstep, you’ll notice how different the packaging is compared to other companies. Trash Amps are shipped in a recycled cardboard tube that is covered with information from the company: motto, history and how Trash Amps are assembled. All of the information to make the product work is also shown on the shipping tube.

A handcrafted, recycled cardboard tube is used for shipping Trash Amps.

If you’ve got an eclectic taste, you’re in luck. The website offers the ability to swap out the look of your Trash Amps combo (can plus sound system) with several options for different cans, grills (can cover), and boxes (Chinese take-out containers to set your Trash Amps product in). Those of you looking for something funky, different and eco-friendly should check out Trash Amps and support the effort to be green. Pricing for combos start at $49.99. www.trashamps.com






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