Towards the end of 2017 we highlighted a research concept that turned plastic waste into street furniture. Print Your City has now gone from early prototypes to city scale project with the launch of a Zero Waste Lab in Thessaloniki, Greece, where locals can take their plastic waste and have it turned into urban furniture.
“Plastic has a design failure,” said New Raw founders Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki. “It is designed to last forever, but often we use it once and then throw it away. With Print Your City, we endeavor to show a better way of using plastic in long lasting and high value applications.”
New Raw studio is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and was founded in 2015 to look into closing the plastic waste loop. The Print Your City initiative began with the XXX bench and transformed ground up waste plastic into functional street furniture using a large scale 3D printer.
The first Greek city prototypes were 3D-printed in the middle of last year and sit somewhere between benches and plant pots. Each one took 12 hours to print and used around 100 kg (220 lb) of ground up waste plastic. Believing that production efficiency could be improved, New Raw built the Zero Waste Lab in collaboration with Coca Cola.
The Lab serves as an education center for locals to learn about the plastic recycling process, drop off waste plastic for recycling and get the chance to design new furniture for their neighborhoods.
“Citizens can shape the designs and uses of each unique object according to their needs,” said the project in a press release. “They can choose which public space will house their piece, as well as the shape, color, and specific integrated functions that will promote a healthy and environment-friendly lifestyle in the city. Each object can feature a bike rack or a vaulting horse, a tree pot or even a dog feeding bowl or a bookcase. What’s more, the geometries are based on ergonomic curvatures that accommodate a relaxed body posture.”
More than 3,000 designs have been submitted by locals since the project website launched in December, 2018, and the first examples of printed furniture are being installed in Thessaloniki’s Hanth Park this month. New Raw is aiming to recycle four tons of plastic waste while the project is running. The Zero Waste Lab is open four days per week until May this year. The video below has more.