Three University of Buckingham students are behind the first eco-friendly mouse.
The Wouse, which is going on sale, is made of rubberwood and while being environmentally friendly, it can also absorb sweat.
Students, Andrew McIntyre, Kate Murphy and Giang Tran, who are studying the BSc Business Enterprise Award are the brains behind the invention.
Giang, 23, from Ho Chi Minh City, worked with Vietnam-based computer expert Do Ba Huy to create the eye-catching wooden Wouse. Giang left her native Vietnam to study in England so that she could learn business skills to market the product.
The three students, as part of their course, came up with a business plan for Ecoccessories – a company selling a range of eco-friendly computer goods including the Wouse, laptop cooler – the Wooler - as well as a wooden iPhone case and stand. Ecoccessories now has a website, ecoccessories.co.uk/ and is starting to trade.
Giang, 23, from Ho Chi Minh City, said: “I wanted to do something for Vietnam. We are used to being a cheap labour force for other countries but not actually doing things for ourselves. We are trying to help people in Vietnam value themselves.”
As the website explains: “We import our products from a small village in Vietnam that gives employment to unprivileged people in the community in addition to educating them. We make it one of our key principles to ensure that our products are fairly produced in a happy and fair working environment.
“We have a direct link with our manufacturer so that we can maintain these conditions and give something back to these people that have very little opportunity and self-belief. There are very few, if any, well-known brands of Vietnam.
“It is our aim to shine the light on the exceptional handicraft shown by these talented people in a developing country that before had very little hope, exposure and belief that they could achieve anything in life. Our products represent sustainability, craftsmanship and the awareness for change, for a better and less harmful future for the environment and the people.“
Rubber trees are farmed on plantations in Southeast Asia. The liquid latex, which is similar to sap, is collected from the trees over a lifespan of around 25 years. Previously, trees which past their producing lifespan used to be burned. However, now most are recovered and milled into lumber, used for flooring, furniture, toys, and now Ecoccessories products.
Giang added: “The project is very environmentally-friendly. After the latex is taken out of the rubber wood the trees are replanted and we use the wood for our products.”