Rotterdam-based studio the New Raw is taking on an ambitious new recycling project with their Zero Waste Lab. Their Print Your City initiative, currently taking place in Thessaloniki (Greece), allows resident to recycle their plastic waste into outdoor, street furniture. The project also takes help from food and beverage giant Coca Cola. The project could be a massive step forward in curbing environmental waste while creating public utilities.
Print Your City offers local residents of the city the services of a recycling facility for their plastic waste along with the choice of how they can implement the waste. The facility uses a robotic 3D-printing arm that can transform the sorted plastic into street furniture. Options include a planter, a bike rack, a feeding bowl for dogs and a bookcase, among other functions.
Users can also customise the furniture online, applying different colours and functionalities while selecting which public space in the city they would like to see it in. Upon selecting a design, the website estimates how much recycled plastic is necessary to print the object. Objects can vary wildly depending on the functionality the user’s requests. The furniture can consist of multiple materials but it is primarily polypropylene and polyethene plastics, although they use PET and PS plastics as well.
While recycling plastic for 3D printing is nothing new, rarely has an initiative shown this much organisation and forethought. The company also sorts, washes and shreds the plastic before melting it and combining it with pigments. Print Your City aims to recycle four tons of plastic waste during the project. According to the designers, this is equivalent to the amount produced by 14 family households in Greece.
Recycling Plastic & Other Waste
“Thessaloniki is a city with high rates in separating and recycling on a household level in Greece,” the designers explained. “At the same time, the size of the city makes measurable the environmental footprint of Print Your City. The municipality of Thessaloniki actively supports the programme, enabling us to test this idea for the first time in a city scale and in public space“.
Print Your City is just the latest initiative by which the Zero Waste Lab is creating incentives for recycling. This has been a staple of the company’s previous operations as well, albeit with other schemes. One of the ways in which they encourage recycling is by giving out “value coins” in exchange for bags of appropriately separated trash.
Another initiative they have is taking place within the Netherlands, using a similar incentivised recycling system. The company also receives paper, cardboard, clean Plastic, PET plastic, textiles, e-waste (household appliances with plugs), batteries, lights (aside from fluorescent tubes) and latex paint. Different waste products net different levels of value coins. The coins are redeemable for discounts at various associated companies and stores.
Print Your City will run as part of the Zero Waste Future programme with funding from Coca Cola across Greece. As of now it has been operating in Thessaloniki since November last year, till the project ends in May 2019. The city provides a large enough sample of people and waste output to test the viability of the project. Perhaps, they may choose to expand Print Your City elsewhere if it turns out to be successful.
Featured images and video courtesy of the New Raw, retrieved via dezeen.