Amsterdam residents are reported to be responsible for about 23 kg (50 lb) of plastic waste per person per year. Rotterdam research and design studio The New Raw says that the annual waste from every three residents should be enough to 3D print two big plastic benches for deployment in public places throughout the capital of The Netherlands. And it's printed a prototype called the bench to show the way.
The plastic used to 3D printed each 50 kg (110 lb) bench is sourced from pellets from municipal waste or flakes from ground up products. The 150 cm (59 in) long, 80 cm (31.5 in) wide prototype has been produced using a large scale pellet extrusion 3D printer and seats two to four people. The New Raw says that it's designed to rock, with users needing to "find equilibrium together, or use their energy to rock each other."
"Cities provide a suitable field for large, long-lasting and easy to trace applications for recycled plastic," explained the studio. "In this field, the technology of 3D printing enables closing the material loop of plastic with a short recycling path and a zero waste production process. Furthermore it can combine modular repair and mass customization, making a more circular city feasible with more engaged citizens and less CO2 emissions."
The shape and size of the bench can be customized to meet specific needs, and businesses could also have logos or messages integrated into the design. And at the end of its useful life, the bench itself can be recycled – perhaps to make more street furniture.
The bench is the first to hit the streets, but The New Raw's research project is already looking at broadening its range, including branching out to recycling bins, playgrounds and bus stops made with recycled plastic components.
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