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Plastic waste used to 3D print street furniture

Out There | January 21, 2019 | By:

Photo: Stefanos Tsakiris

Print Your City, the initiative conceived by the Dutch-based research and design studio The New Raw, has moved from concept to city scale. Following the XXX bench prototype presented last year in Amsterdam, Print Your City has launched its first Zero Waste Lab in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Implemented by Coca-Cola in Greece, the lab is equipped with recycling facilities where citizens can bring their plastic waste and design custom urban furniture made from the waste, thereby getting actively involved in the recycling process. The furniture’s material originates as plastic flakes from grinded recycled household plastic waste. The lab closes the plastic waste loop with advanced technologies at the local level.

“Plastic has a design failure. 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,” say Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, founders of The New Raw.

Citizens can shape the designs and uses of each unique piece, 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. The geometries are based on ergonomic curvatures that accommodate a relaxed body posture.

As soon as a design is finalized, the Print Your City website provides information on the quantity of plastic that will need recycling in order to generate enough raw material for the 3D printing process. Since the website launch in December 2018, more than 3.000 different designs have been submitted. For the entire duration of the project, The New Raw aims to recycle four tons of plastic waste.

The initial prototypes were printed in summer 2018. Part tree pots and part benches and chairs, the pieces invited interaction by citizens in Nea Paralia, the main waterfront promenade in Thessaloniki. The standard prototype required 12 hours to print an average 100 kilos of plastic into a pot, so the designers decided to improve the quality of the materials and to optimize the design options, in order to reduce the production timeframe.

Print Your City is an on-going research and design project initiated by The New Raw in 2016. The Thessaloniki project is developed within the framework of the “Zero Waste Future” program, conceived and powered by Coca-Cola in Greece, in collaboration with the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Ecorec and Ogilvy Greece. The Zero Waste Lab represents the second phase of the project.


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