Interview with RootPhi’s Doug Patt

Interview with RootPhi’s Doug Patt

Last week, we were intrigued by a post on Coolhunting about RootPhi and Timbuk2's recycled messenger bags. The material is made from bonded plastic bags--very strong and quite eco chic....

Allison Mooney
  • 2 may 2007

Last week, we were intrigued by a post on Coolhunting about RootPhi and Timbuk2‘s recycled messenger bags. The material is made from bonded plastic bags–very strong and quite eco chic. In an interview with RootPhi Cofounder and President Doug Patt, PSFK found out more about the innovative fabric, San Francisco’s shopping bag ban, and his love of trashy products. Plus, Rootphi’s top-secret sneaker revolution.

PSFK: When and how did you come up with the idea for a fabric from plastic bags?


DP: My business partner, Brian Witlin, developed the machine and method of manufacturing while at Stanford University finishing a masters degree in mechanical engineering and design last year.

PSFK: What are the mechanics of the machine?

DP: The machine and process are currently patent pending so we don’t like to give too much away.


What we can say is that the recycled fabric, RootPhi calls Reclaimâ„¢, is made from Low and High-density polyethylene.  LDPE and HDPE are the simple plastic ingredients found in typical shopping bags that you’d find at your local grocery or shopping market. RootPhi has developed a machine that turns these bags into a very special fabric that has characteristics much like leather or vinyl.  The difference being that this new fabric is cost effectively recycled, comes in a wide variety of textures, thicknesses, colors and can be used in many applications.

PSFK: How did the partnership with Timbuk2 come about?

DP: Timbuk2 saw this material in spring of last year during the early stages of development when RootPhi was making an assortment of prototype products such as change purses, wallets, and a variety of bags.

PSFK: Is the partnership for a limited time or long term?

DP: Interestingly San Francisco has just implemented a ban plastic shopping bags…RootPhi and Timubuk2 feel it is the perfect time to roll out a product that surpasses expectations lawmakers had when they wrote the ban. We plan on doing all kinds of useful things with trash for many years to come!

PSFK: Do you hope to make other products using the same technique?

DP: As stated in response to question #3 the messenger bag is just one of many potential collaborative explorations in products that can be made from Reclaimâ„¢.

PSFK: Can you tell us about your upcoming projects at Rootphi? What can we look for next?

DP: Everything we do is both speculative and highly confidential but what I can tell you is that we are currently working on a groundbreaking accessory product for shoes that we believe will change the way
people use footwear forever.  Stay tuned!



Lyft Gives Free Rides To Those Who Have Had Too Much To Drink

Syndicated Yesterday

Banned Books Week Urges People To Seek Out Controversial Works

Joining the annual celebration of the right to read, US author Jessica Herthel called for 'more information, more voices' to protect diversity

Augmented & Virtual Reality Yesterday

Outdoor Camp Presented In 360° VR By X Games Gold Medalist

The video features campers riding BMX trails, zip lining through the woods, and performing big-air jumps


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Travel Yesterday

Boeing Wants Passengers To Control Their In-Flight Experience Through Their Phones

The airline manufacturer is embracing automation through a new generation of mobile travel apps

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

VR Surgery Videos Offer Interactive Medical Education

Dutch startup MDLinking hopes to globalize communication between students and medical care professionals with virtual reality content

Related Expert

Ethan McCarty

Tech Comm Disruptor

Culture Yesterday

Use Twitter To Learn A New Language

tDict is an app that uses the social media platform to help you search for words in local dialects

Mobile Yesterday

This Startup Wants To Digitize The Loose Coins In Your Pocket

CoinOut is a new app that lets you save your extra change from cash transactions as electronic funds

Advertising Yesterday

McDonald’s Is Accepting Trash As Currency In Exchange For Burgers

An initiative in Stockholm is trying to keep streets clean while satisfying hunger


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 21, 2016

Creative Agency Founder: Using VR As A Race Relationship Tool

Maurice Bernstein, CEO and Founder of Giant Step, explores the value in transforming headsets from high-tech entertainment tools into empathy machines

PSFK Labs september 22, 2016

The Future Of Work: Why Innovation Is Every Employee’s Job

PSFK Labs sits down with management at Johnson & Johnson to learn how the company comes up with their next ‘big idea’

Culture Yesterday

Google Is Using Virtual Paper Airplanes To Bring People Closer Together

The tech giant released an app that lets people throw their good wishes out into the world on the International Day of Peace

Advertising Yesterday

Get Paid For Traveling In San Francisco After Rush Hour

BART Perks rewards commuters who take early or late trains by giving them extra points to trade for money

Culture Yesterday

Artist Designs Covers For Books That Don’t Exist

Published by the fictional 'Specious Books,' the subversive works facilitate a conversation regarding the artistic integrity of graphic designers

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Food Yesterday

Bringing Food Innovation To America’s Crowded Milk Market

a2 Milk's Blake Waltrip, Chief Executive of the USA region, discusses how the distributor plans on bringing the popular drink for the dairy-sensitive to the States


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Financial Services Yesterday

Device Makes Digital Currency Feel Tangible

The concept gadget wants you to experience the highs and lows of spending money

Design & Architecture Yesterday

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

Augmented / Virtual Reality Yesterday

NBC Is Planning To Stream The Presidential Debates In Virtual Reality

Partnering with AltspaceVR, the broadcaster offers another way for Americans to engage with the election season

No search results found.