Scientists have warned that the amount of plastic waste suffocating land and sea could exceed 12 billion tons by 2050. “For decades, ‘virgin plastic’ has been used to produce everything from food packaging to furniture. But, as the environmental impact of this material becomes more apparent, an increasing number of designers are exploring alternatives,” writes Dezeen.
Design’s role in solving global issues is critical and has led to the idea of using recycled plastic: an amazing material that, if processed correctly, can offer just as many possibilities as virgin plastic.
Jan Puylaert, designer and co-founder of furniture brand Ecopixel, shares with Dezeen that recycled plastic comes in so many different types and is so readily available that there is no reason to manufacture new plastic. And over the last few years big-name designers and brands, such as Adidas and UK studio Studio Swine, have begun incorporating recycled ocean plastic into their work.
Additionally, Netherlands-based designer Dave Hakkens built an innovative plastic recycling machine in 2013 so that people can recycle their own waste plastic. Four short years later Hakken’s Precious Plastic machine has been adopted by more than 200 designers worldwide. “This global community creates a wide range of products—from jewellery and textiles, to ceramics and homeware—and sells them through online retailers such as Bezar,” reports Dezeen.
Bob Vos and Alessandro Iadarola—founders of sustainable design brand Polimeer—explain that because plastic is an engineered material that is never crafted like metal, wood, or glass, it is possible to innovate production processes and change the way plastic looks, and therefore the way society perceives it. A change in attitude toward plastic is needed, and this will most certainly be the biggest challenge.
To read more about a new generation of sustainably minded designers pioneering ways of using recycled plastic, go to Dezeen.
Photo: Gary Chan via Unsplash