The residents of Thessaloniki, Greece, can now recycle their plastic waste into 3D printed furniture for the city, using a new laboratory set up by Rotterdam studio The New Raw.
It offers local residents a recycling facility for their plastic waste as well as the ability to choose what the waste is turned into, with a robotic 3D-printing arm that can transform the sorted plastic into street furniture.
Users can customise the furniture via a website, choosing between different colours and functionalities and also selecting which public space in the city they would like to see it in.
Options for each object include a planter, a bike rack, a feeding bowl for dogs and a bookcase, among other functions.
Once the design is chosen, the website tells the user how much recycled plastic would be needed to make the object. For instance, a large triangle-shaped bench with a library and an urban garden would require 90 kilograms of recycled plastic to build.
"Plastic has a design failure. It is designed to last forever, but often we use it once and then throw it away," said The New Raw founders Panos Sakkas and Fonteini Setaki.
"With Print Your City, we endeavour to show a better way of using plastic in long lasting and high value applications."
The furniture is made primarily from PP and PE plastics commonly used in food packaging, which is sourced directly from the plastic waste donated to the lab.
The waste is sorted, washed and shredded before being melted and combined with pigments to create a printable material. The furniture can also be made from PET and PS plastics.
Print Your City aims to engage residents of cities around the world more directly with the recycling process by both turning the waste into objects that can be used by the public and giving them some control over what those objects are and where they might be placed.
Hanth Park in central Thessaloniki became the first public space to be redesigned with Print Your City furniture in January.
"More than 2,900 citizens of Thessaloniki voted where and how they wanted to see the new furniture of the city," the designers reporting.
"For the production of the furniture, we recycled more than 800 kilos of plastic waste."
Lead designer: The New Raw
Project team: Panos Sakkas, Foteini Setaki, Stavroula Tsafou, Andrea Sebastianeli, Andreas Kyriacou, Nickolas Maslarinos, and Jan Schmidt
Partners: Municipality of Thessaloniki, Ecorec, Ogilvy Greece
Client: Coca-Cola in Greece