Helmets don't last forever. And because they are usually made of many different types of inseparable plastic, they can't usually be recycled. That means any impact big enough to cast doubt on the structural integrity of the helmet means a one-way trip to the landfill.
To address this, POC has been working for two years on the Myelin, a helmet that uses the fewest different types of plastic as possible and no glue to hold them together, where every component has been designed for recycling. That means that at the end of its life it can be deconstructed by the owner into components containing a single type of plastic, which can then be recycled. Composite materials containing multiple plastics cannot be commercially recycled.
The helmet is currently made of 50% recycled materials, and it's possible to recycle 100% of the helmet after use, so it's a small but important step on the road to a circular economy
One obvious example of how they've achieved this is the fabric shell, which goes over the EPS liner but, unlike the hard plastic shells used in most helmets, can be easily separated from it. Hidden inside is the fit system, which allows the helmet to be adjusted to fit the user's head, and is inspired by the snap-fit systems in baseball caps. It's made in a single piece that crosses the entire helmet, eliminating the need for anchors immoulded in the EPS, which can't be easily taken apart.
Obviously, safety is still paramount with a helmet, and the Myelin, which is designed mostly for commuting, passes the relevant safety standards.
While there's no word on if and when this approach will make its way into mountain biking helmets, the press release suggests this is on the cards: "The Myelin is an important step forward, but there is a lot to continue to do and POC’s ambition is to transfer as much of its research and testing in sustainable-resource use into more products over time. The principle is to have the highest level of safety and protection whilst looking to minimize as much of the negative impact as possible."
The Myelin is now available for 100 EUR / 100 GBP / 100 USD / 120 CAD.
For more information visit pocsports.com