All our products are designed in our London studio, made from sustainable and food safe materials. Every detail is inspected to ensure the best quality so they can be reused for life. We are proud members of 1% for the Planet, and are Certified Climate Neutral, minimising as much as possible our impact on the environment.
“We put our hearts and souls into every product we make. We want our customers to get as much enjoyment from using a Black+Blum product as we got from designing it. Our aim is to become design leaders and innovators in our product sector, and we can’t wait to share with you the many exciting new products we are currently developing.”
– Dan Black, Co-founder & Lead designer
OUR VISION: People who own black+blum products feel great about using them every day!
OUR MISSION: With rigorous attention to detail and a focus on sustainability, we design original products that inspire a sense of well-being.
SUSTAINABILITY & LONGEVITY: We design our products with re-use and sustainability in mind, ensuring that they have a long life using eco-friendly materials where possible. We discourage single-use plastics and food waste.
HEALTH & WELL-BEING: Our products encourage a healthy, enriching lifestyle.
Co-founder and lead designer Dan Black was born in Yorkshire in 1974. His father and grandfather before him had a factory that made shoes and bags. He always had a fascination for design and grew up discussing products around the family kitchen table.
He studied Industrial Design at Northumbria University, where previous graduates include Jony Ive (ex head of design at Apple). As part of his degree, he interned at the prestigious consultancies of IDEO (London) and Frog Design (California). He graduated in 1996 with a First Class Honours Degree. For the first year after graduating, he worked for Studio Brown in Bath. Then in 1998, he founded Black+Blum with Martin Blum, his Swiss friend and fellow design graduate from Northumbria University.
Although the business started as a consultancy creating products for other companies, their passion lay in developing and selling their own designs and they launched their first range of lighting in 2000. These were simple figurative/playful designs that they made and assembled themselves in batch production. They were an instant hit and the range quickly grew. In 2002 they entered the homeware market with the launch of their award-winning and iconic ‘James the doorman’ doorstop. Other award-winning designs swiftly followed with the ‘Propello’ fan, ‘High & Dry’ dishrack, ‘Hot Pot’ barbecue and ‘Loop’ candelabra.
In 2010 they launched their first lunch box ‘Box Appetit’. It took inspiration from Japan, a country that had developed the designs of Bento lunch boxes into an art form. At the time, the West was making do with boring, waxy plastic food containers. ‘Box Appetit’ was the first adult lunchbox that catered for Western cuisine and presented food beautifully, greatly improving the users eating experience.
In 2011, they took further inspiration from Japan, by introducing their first filter water bottle ‘Eau Good’. The Japanese have been using this type of active charcoal to filter their water for centuries, but the ‘Eau Good’ design adapted it for on-the-go. The design was aimed at encouraging users to stop buying bottled water, by making their tap water taste great.
In 2014 Dan took over the reins of the organisation. In 2018 Black + Blum began to focus solely on the ‘food and drink on-the-go’ product category: lunch boxes, water bottles, thermoses and accessories.
Today, the business has gained wide spread international recognition as their designs feed into the growing world awareness of health, wellness, and especially sustainability.
Every product they release is developed in-house and is unique to them. They have won over 25 international design awards. They are passionate about creating genuinely functional and innovative products that offer something better than what is already on the market. To name just a few of their innovations, they were the first company to launch an adult lunch box that organised the contents beautifully and catered for Western foods, a natural charcoal on-the-go filter bottle, a food thermos that incorporated a non-folding spoon, an all stainless steel leak-proof lunch box, a lightweight leak-proof glass lunch box.
Their products are sold in over 60 countries and in over 1000 stores from museum/design shops such as MoMA NY, to supermarkets such as Wholefoods. They are personally used by some of the most well known food experts, nutritionists and clean living advocates the world over and they continue to create innovative designs that encourage people to lead a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.
MATERIALS WE USE AND WHY WE USE THEM
We choose our materials with great care and consideration in relation to how they are required to function and also their environmental impact.
This sustainable crop is a fast-growing grass, which requires no fertiliser and self-regenerates from its own roots (so it doesn’t need to be replanted) and regrows to its adult size in 3 to 5 years. It has a dense and consistent grain, which allows us to accurately cut it to size and is also naturally anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. These attributes make it a perfect material for us to use as a lid/chopping board on some of our lunch boxes. We apply a natural mineral oil finish to seal it and if used and cared for properly, it will last a lifetime.
All our product boxes are made from unbleached and uncoated cardboard. This makes them better for recycling (or even adding to your home compost to avoid filling your bin). When someone buys an individual product from our website, our warehouses will sometimes use recycled boxes or recycled filling material, to send these out rather than new outer boxes or new filling material. While this might not look as pristine (or the box might sometimes be a bit larger than the item inside), we believe it is the right thing to do.
We use active charcoal as a natural water filter to remove contaminants and add good minerals to tap water. The skilled artisan makers follow a traditional Japanese technique to make the charcoal. They only prune and coppice the branches of their fast growing native trees and do not remove the roots. This means the trees can grow back, and be harvested again, in five year rotations. They source the wood local to their kilns and this ensures the forests where the wood grows is protected.
We love using cork as a lid material on our vacuum insulated food thermoses lids of some of water bottles. It is renewable, biodegradable and 100% natural. It is obtained through an environmentally friendly harvesting process that ensures the tree’s continued life. It is also an excellent insulator which helps ensure that the contents of the vacuum jars stay hot (or cold) for hours on end.
We use Borosilicate Glass in some of our bottles and lunch boxes. It is lightweight, strong and can withstand extreme temperatures (so safe for use in ovens, microwaves, freezers or dishwashers). It is also thermal shock resistant, so is more resistant to shattering when exposed to sudden temperature change. It is chemical resistant, taste neutral and free from lead and BPA free. It will age extremely well, will last a lifetime and is also 100% recyclable.
We use the word ‘plastic’ to describe the different types of polymers that we use in our designs. These include polypropylene, Tritan, and POM. Every time we use a plastic, we use it sparingly and responsibly. Sometimes, a specific plastic is the best material for the job required. We understand and agree with the backlash against plastic pollution, but this does not mean plastic should not be used at all. We make sure the plastics we do use are BPA, BPS and phthalate free, are fully recyclable and most importantly are designed to last. It might sound wrong, but we want our designs to last as long as possible, but when they do come to the end of their life, they can still be recycled.
We use high quality food safe silicone for our seals and some lunchbox lids designs in order to make them leak-proof. It is an extremely tough material that can withstand temperatures from as low as -60°C to over 150°C, so is safe for use in freezers, ovens, microwaves or dishwashers. It is considered an inert material so it won’t leach dangerous chemicals such as BPA, BPS, lead, latex, and phthalates into your food or drink. Although it is not biodegradable, this can be seen as a benefit as it does not break down into micro particles that can then enter the environment/food chain. It is fully recyclable but check first with your local recycling centre.
We use high quality 304 – 18/8 stainless steel for its long-lasting durability and excellent resistance to corrosion and rust. It is also 100% recyclable. Most importantly it is a material that can last a lifetime and even improve with age and use. It may take on the odd scratch, dent, or patina, but this will only add to its character and charm. Every mark will tell a story and make the product unique to you.
We mix recycled and sustainably sourced (FSC and PEFC) wood with either polypropylene or TPR. This material can be recycled into itself but most importantly gives a highly durable finish that will age well. It increases the amount of bio based content in the polymer and also increases its perceived value as it will age better and not show scratches, stains or wear the same way that standard single colour pristine plastic does.
We are Climate Neutral Certified and proud members of 1% for the Planet
We have officially become Climate Neutral Certified in 2021, for our 2020 emissions. We measured our company’s carbon footprint, and then offset it in its entirety by purchasing quality carbon credits, as well as planning to reduce emissions in the future. By committing to work as Climate Neutral Certified, we have fully offset the CO2 emissions caused in our everyday operations and product manufacturing.
Climate Neutral is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to decrease global carbon emissions by creating a trusted net-zero certification for consumer brands. The Climate Neutral Certified label empowers consumers to consciously support companies that measure their entire carbon footprint, offset it in its entirety, and implement strategies to reduce it moving forward. Climate Neutral’s standardised process makes it easier for companies to estimate their greenhouse gas footprint, identify credible carbon offsets, and prioritise measures to reduce their emissions.
The membership to 1% for the Planet commits us to donating one percent of our total annual sales to non-profit environmental causes. We all need to do more to help our amazing planet. There is no planet B.
We’re conscious that we won’t solve the huge environmental issues by making more products. Our hope is the designs we do produce, go someway to helping encourage people to live more sustainable lifestyles. Taking your own food and drink with you can greatly reduce food waste and single use packaging. We build our designs to last and if used regularly they will help you do your part and every effort helps.
1% for the Planet is an international organisation whose members contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes. Their mission is to build, support and activate an alliance of businesses financially committed to creating a healthy planet. Members assist non-profit organisations that protect land, forests, rivers, oceans and also encourage sustainable methods of energy production. It was originally founded by Yvon Chouinard and Craig Mathews in 2002 and have certified more than $250 million in support to approved environmental nonprofits.
Our chosen charities
City Harvest puts surplus food to good use in a sustainable way. In a city as affluent as London, it is shocking to find that thousands of people go hungry each day. At the same time, it is such a waste that safe, healthy and usable food is being disposed of. City Harvest collects this nutritious surplus food from all segments of the food industry (including restaurants, grocers, manufacturers, wholesalers, hotels and caterers) and distributes it to the needy (including homeless shelters, soup kitchens, children’s programs, centers for the elderly, and refuges for women experiencing domestic violence). They divert food from landfill where it would release greenhouse gases that lead to climate change. To date, they have redistributed food valued at more than £20 million, free, to their partners and offset over 27,000 tons of greenhouse gases.
Trees for Cities are the only UK charity working on a national and international scale to improve lives by planting trees in cities. They get stuck in with local communities to cultivate lasting change in neighbourhoods – whether it’s revitalising forgotten spaces, creating healthier environments or getting people excited about growing, foraging and eating healthy food. To date, they have planted more than 1,117,899 trees with over 6000 volunteers, and educated over 16,000 school children in 26 cities.
We understand that by nature, creating more products does increase our environmental footprint. Which is why we ensure all our products are made to the highest quality with the best materials, designed to be used over and over again. Buy once, buy well.