Like many other cities around the world, London has committed itself to reducing plastic waste. Plastic cups, takeaway packaging and grocery bags now carry an extra charge, and plastic straws are being phased out slowly.
Our current methods of living are clearly unsustainable; we’re running out of natural resources but we are also throwing away far more than necessary. This ‘take-make-discard model of consumption needs to change in favour of recycling waste into reusable goods.
Designers embracing reusable materials
A number of designers, inventors and creatives have stepped up to the plate and embarked on pioneering projects that utilise recycled materials. Some of these materials are innovative and others are plain old household waste, such as newspaper, sawdust, and maize husks.
London-based designer Brodie Neill has developed a flooring material for houses that is made from plastic waste washed up on the beaches. He has also created some bespoke furniture pieces that have been showcased at the London Design Festival in previous years.
Furniture maker Sebastian Cox is experimenting with seats made from wood waste and held together by fungi. The creator has also developed a lightweight insulation board that can be easily installed in the home. “It’s early days yet but we are passionate about new uses for wood, which is super-sustainable when harvested correctly,” says Cox. Numerous other designers are harnessing wood waste and offcuts from sawmills for their projects.
Adam Fairweather and Rosalie McMillan work together to create tabletops and storage boxes from recycled plastic bottles, yoghurt cups and plant pots. They have also developed plastic boards that can be used for manufacturing.
The future of waste repurposing
What these designers showcase is a new way of thinking about our waste – embracing the old to create the new. Repurposing and repairing materials is a far better option that discarding and remanufacturing. Upcycling materials has become big business for many furniture designers and interior decorators.
Even Ikea, the flat-pack furniture giant, has started to feature functional furniture pieces made from recycled materials in its catalogues; kitchen cupboards made from reclaimed wood and a plastic coating for furniture items made from recycled plastic bottles.
The world is making steady shifts towards a more sustainable future and in the process, new methods of production and materials are being discovered and tested.
Averda is a leading waste management provider with over 50 years of experience across three continents. Through growth, transformation and engagement, we strive to find new ways of managing waste while protecting the community and environment.
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