Friday, November 7, 2008


It always seems to rain the hardest when you least expect it and when you’re least prepared - and of course, when you're without an umbrella. How many days have been sunny and clear until 5 o’clock and then bam! - Just as you leave work, the sky opens up? How many nights have been cool and clear until you find yourself soaked and frizzed, in the midst of an erratic downpour? And although most people own umbrellas, they never seem to have them when it matters, being forced to either a) get wet, or b) get wet walking to the nearest store for a new one.

While carrying an umbrella around 24/7 might seem both simple and pragmatic, it isn’t. For the most part, men don’t use purses, and women’s handbags are rarely large enough to stash a whole umbrella. Is there no weatherproof solution for accidentally leaving an umbrella at the bar or getting caught outside without so much as a hood?

The Idea: disposable umbrellas.

Essentially a larger, rain-shielding version of the mini-parasols found in tropical drinks, disposable umbrellas would be small, lightweight, and good for a one-time use. They would be sold in packs of two (for getting there and back) at convenience stores, pharmacies, and within vending machines; if successful, office buildings and other high-traffic venues (i.e. restaurants, hotels, theatres, etc.) could also make them available.

To some, the word disposable is immediately associated with waste. To combat this fear and related criticisms, disposable umbrellas would be made from recycled materials such as plastics, metals, and paper - or a combination of all three; in addition, a percentage of each sale could be donated to an organization aimed at helping the environment. The amount donated would surely offset the cost of recycling a discarded umbrella.

To learn more about advances already made towards creating disposable umbrellas, check out patents 5069237 and 6237615 – please note, the patent is for the specific design, not the Idea itself.

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