Translations Best practice in French version Best practice in English version

LA VIRGULE opts for upcycling and turns kayaks into bagpacks

4. Environment


La Virgule is an eco-responsible luggage brand initiated in 2019 by three ambitious young entrepreneurs.

Concerned about current environmental and social issues, they give a second life to materials that were about to be thrown away. They redesigned them into bags and computer covers. This young French start-up, for example, transforms old torn kayaks into backpacks.

Some of their products are then made by disabled employees to whom they make employment accessible. 


  • Create a more responsible product offer
  • Make “made in France” products by producing more locally
  • Make the world of sport circular to reconcile human with its environment
  • Promote the professional integration of people with disabilities


The production of a backpack in China emits around 10kg of CO2. In order to avoid negative impacts on the environment while offering quality luggage, La Virgule opts for a more ecological and responsible production. To do this, they collect end-of-life materials intended to be discarded and use them as raw material for their bags. One of their products (the 16-liter O2 backpack), for example, is made from recycled inflatable kayak canvas.

The recovery circuit can be described as follows. Customers first bring their end-of-life kayaks back to Decathlon. They are then sent to La Virgule. Once the design has been imagined, the start-up calls on the ESAT of Calais, which employs people with disabilities. The kayaks are then cut and washed, before being transformed into backpacks.


  • Creation of a sustainable offer that gives a second life to end-of-life kayaks
  • More than 4 tonnes of materials have already been upcycled
  • Product quality: the kayak may be at the end of its life, but the material used to make it is still in excellent condition


  • The brand contributes to the preservation of natural resources
  • Reduction of the carbon footprint
  • Creation of jobs for people with disabilities


Benoît Gourlet


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mise à jour le 22/10/2021

Creative Commons Attribution This work by Réseau Alliances – World Forum Lille is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.