Fairphone - From phone case to sustainable stool

Fairphone – From phone case to sustainable stool

Fairphone – From phone case to sustainable stool

Gerecycled plastic van telefoonhoesjes

Recycling phone cases

Sustainable phone company Fairphone came to us with a special request: “are you able to recycle phone cases that have pieces of metal and silicones glued onto it?” Yes, we can!

Fairphone was looking for a solution to sustainably process their old phone cases. These specific cases had written Fairphone on the back in metal letters. And there were silicone edges on the inside to protect the phone. Since materials that are glued together are very difficult to separate, no other recycler would accept the phone cases.

Fairphone phone cases

Recycling with our 3D-printers

Luckily, our 3D-printers are designed and built especially to be able to process this type of waste stream. By using a thick printline, we simply melt the pieces of metal and silicone into the product. In this way we were able to recycle Fairphone’s phone cases into new seating furniture for in their HQ, and flyer holders to take to events and conventions. 

Lumbar loungestoel van gerecyclede telefoonhoesjes

Een kijkje in de keuken bij Fairphone

During this project we closely collaborated with Miquel Ballester, Fairphone’s Circular Innovation Lead. Are you curious about his experience? Read this interview with him!

Finally, there is fun video that shows the entire project. Watch it here!

Are you curious to hear what we can do with your plastic?

HEMA – From make-up display to waste bin

HEMA – From make-up display to waste bin

Make-up displays en versnipperd gerecycled plastic

A unique waste stream

In 2019, all make-up displays in HEMA‘s stores were replaced. Therefore, over 2000 kilo of plastic waste came to surface. The plastic type of these displays (ABS) is rarely recycled in The Netherlands. Since the displays were collected and separated, we were able to still recycle this waste stream. That is why HEMA now has 35 recycling bins at their HQ, made from their own waste!

Afvalscheidingsbakken voor HEMA, gemaakt van gerecycled plastic van de oude make-up displays van HEMA. Er zijn vier afvalscheidingsbakken voor organisch afval, koffiebekers, plastic en overig afval.

A different colour for every waste bin

To establish a good waste separation, the bins for the different waste streams should be clearly recognizable. Therefore, we coloured the white plastic with pigment. In this way, we created a green bin for organic waste, a blue one for the coffee cups and a red bin for plastics. Adding pigment does not have any effect on the material. We are therefore still able to recycle this material again!

HEMA rode en witte afvalscheidingsbakken van gerecycled plastic

HEMA logo for a HEMA waste separation bin

These waste separation stations are especially designed and made for HEMA. To show this clearly, we printed the HEMA logo in relief on the side of the white and red bins. In this way, we are able to make these waste separation stations truly HEMA!

Deksel van afvalscheidingsbak HEMA van gerecycled plastic

HEMA’s Innovation Lead about this project

During this project we collaborated closely with HEMA’s Innovation Lead, Fabeel Butt. Are you curious about his take on our collaboration? Read the interview here!

This is how Fairphone is changing the smartphone industry from the inside out

This is how Fairphone is changing the smartphone industry from the inside out

Creating fair(er) phones, that is Fairphone‘s mission. As Circular Innovation Lead, Miquel Ballester knows all about how to make an impact. We interviewed him about his role at Fairphone, ambitions and future plans.

You have been with Fairphone pretty much from the start. What makes Fairphone unique, according to you??

We zijn een sociale onderneming en we zijn geboren vanuit de behoefte om sociale en We are a social enterprise, and we were born to inspire social and environmental change in the electronics industry – through the development of our own product, which makes all of our projects much more tangible and powerful. What makes us unique is the impact that we have with this approach: Sustainability is not an afterthought, it’s at the core of what we do.

You are the Circular Innovation Lead at Fairphone. How would you describe this role?

I’m part of the Value Chain Innovation team. We’re always looking for new opportunities and collaborations to make an impact in the electronics industry. My focus within the team is anything that has to do with the transition to the circular economy. This doesn’t only include recycling but also the design and longevity of our product. We did a project in Ghana for example, in which we collected old phones and recycled them.

Miquel Ballester Circular Innovation Lead Fairphone

What would a typical day look like for you?

I’m an early bird, so I usually get to the office at 7:30 am. When there’s no one around, I can focus best. I write briefings for new projects or go through my emails for example. From 9:00 am my colleagues start to come in and there are usually meetings scheduled. In our weekly team meeting, we discuss our projects and the challenges that come with them. Within the value chain team, we all have our own specific topics – giving us the opportunity to learn from each other. And since we’re always looking to collaborate with external experts, I also have meetings outside of the office.

At lunchtime, the entire Fairphone team comes together. 70 great people work in our HQ in total, and it’s really cool to see everyone mixing during this time of the day. In the afternoon I try not to have too many meetings. I have some focus time again and finish up the work I have to do that day before I leave the office at 4 pm. I live in Rotterdam, so I have 40 minutes of commute. In the evening I like to work out and I spent a lot of time cooking, maybe too much time (laughs).

Fairphone telefoonhoesjes

Just like it is for us, recycling materials is an important part of your work. How does Fairphone approach this?

We believe in a circular economy and we are working towards integrating more recycled materials into our phones. Realistically though, we will always need virgin materials as well. Therefore, mining will continue to be a part of the supply chain. But when we use virgin materials, we make sure that they are sourced in the right conditions. We are currently collaborating with Solidaridad and Unicef on a project in Uganda. This project is all about improving the standards of the working conditions in the mines. Right now, there’s a focus on wages, health and safety. In the future, we will keep on working on new materials and continue to develop the communities that live from mining. We really want to be a vehicle for change in the regions that need it most.

Looking back at your achievements with Fairphone 2, what would you say is a major product milestone?

Fairphone 2 is the first modular smartphone in the industry. We made it modular, because we want people to keep our phones far beyond the industry average of two years. This design makes it a lot easier to repair separate parts of the phone. It’s possible to change a phone screen without any tools for example – in under a minute. And it has lots of benefits for recycling as well, as this project with vanPlestik demonstrates.

Fairphone telefoon

Fairphone’s community is of great value for the company, can you tell us some more about that?

We zijn erg danWe are very thankful for our community, they have been really patient with us. A big part of our community is very engaged in what we do. We take their ideas and complaints very seriously – ultimately, they help us grow.

And when we talk about our community, we’re thinking about Fairphone customers, but also about our employees and partners that share our goals and ambitions. They are often an essential source of knowledge on where we are going and what we are doing.

Why are Fairphone and vanPlestik a good match, according to you?

We love vanPlestik’s approach to recycling! Using waste material that otherwise would be discarded is something that really speaks to us. Often, plastic waste in consumer electronics is burned. We wanted to put the plastic waste we have as a company to good use, so we are really happy with this collaboration.

Gerecycled plastic van telefoonhoesjes

What are the plans for the coming year?

We are always on the hunt for new impact projects. On a product level, we are continually reinventing as well. We are currently working on a new product. Unfortunately, we can’t share too many details about that just yet, it’s still in the development stage… stay tuned!

Besides that, we are looking into offering Fairphone as a service. In collaboration with Circular Economy, we are doing a pilot for businesses at the moment. The goal is to extend the lifecycle of our product, as we’ve seen that very few devices come back to us. If the phones are returned after use, it’s easier to refurbish or recycle them.

What change does Fairphone hope to make in the industry?

We hope that one day, the amount of recycled material becomes a topic to consider in the process of a consumer buying a product. Whether it’s a smartphone, toaster or washing machine. To make this happen, we have to lead by example. We believe that the best way to change the industry is to be a part of it. By making phones, we’re establishing a market for fairer electronics, opening up the supply chain, creating a positive impact and building new relationships between people and their products.

Students, Hotels ánd plastic recycling?

Students, Hotels ánd plastic recycling?

An interview with the Impact Manager of The Student Hotel: Amber Westerborg 

The Student Hotel offers accommodation for students, hotel guests, co-workers and anyone in the neighbourhood interested in stopping by for a cup of coffee. They focus on making their hotels as sustainable as possible. Waste management is one of the key pillars of their sustainability strategy. That’s where vanPlestik and TSH found common ground to work on. 
For their latest hotel in Delft, TSH’s Amber Westerborg and vanPlestik worked closely together on a new sustainability project. We sat down for an interview with her to find out what TSH does to operate in a sustainable manner.

TSH invites students to stay with us, to be inspired, to find their purpose and to go out and change the world for the better”

With every new hotel The Student Hotel opens, they aim to raise their sustainability-bar even higher. The older hotels are also a part of this transition, and are constantly changing in order to become as sustainable as possible.

Amber Westenborg: Impact Manager of The Student Hotel

No pain, no gain

Working on sustainability for 14 hotels in six different countries (and 15 more hotels on the way!), it can be difficult to maintain uniformity. Luckily, Amber has quite a pragmatic approach to implementing sustainability-related projects. If something turns out to work in one hotel, it will be applied to the new ones as well, and vice-versa. If an experiment in a new hotel proves to work, it is applied in already existing hotels. This way, they are able to learn fast and create a balance between all hotels.

Behaviour is key

It is of great concern to Amber to not only create these sustainable systems, but to also engage TSH’s students and guests to make them work. She states that it’s not always easy to change people’s mindsets. By teaching them about waste and plastic for example, Amber hopes that the students will take something with them and leave with a changed point of view towards sustainability.

“Ideally, we use our hotels as an educational journey, not in a disciplined manner, but in a fun, interactive and creative manner.”

Conscious decisions lead to a groundbreaking floor!

TSH is currently working on opening a new location in Delft where they take their commitment to sustainability to another level. Amber describes this hotel as being their testing ground for circularity. She explains that the complete ground floor of the hotel was built according to circular design principles. Everything, from the windows down to the floor, is made out of sustainable materials. Examples include black steel that hasn’t been powdercoated, curtains made from recycled textiles, and a countertop made from recycled plastic bottle caps.

Interior Design Photo Shoot of The Student Hotel Berlin | TSH Berlin - Official Images by Sal Marston Photography

As we write this, our team is creating a unique product for the entrance of the hotel. We were able to replace single-use decorations with a long-lasting circular solution. The unveiling of TSH Delft and our special product will be in September. Stay tuned!

Upcycled waste bins for HEMA

Upcycled waste bins for HEMA

A product to create zero-waste headquarters

Over the last year, we have been working on our biggest collaboration project yet. We are excited to finally share the results of our project for the retail chain HEMA.

We designed and 3D printed almost 200 waste bins for their headquarters. Using old make-up displays from the HEMA stores, we created four different kinds of bins: One bin for paper, one for organic waste, one for regular waste and one for coffee cups. Together, these four bins complete one waste separation station.

The complete package: A custom-made and user-friendly design

To ensure the usability of these stations, we included helpful aspects in the design. Among these are the various colors and sizes of the bins, multiple cut-out lids and engraved labels. Another unique product characteristic is that the HEMA logo is embossed on the side, which adds a personal touch to the bins.

Closing the recycling loop

This project guided us through an exciting year of designing, testing and prototyping. By making these stations out of their own waste, HEMA Nederland was able to recycle a used product and get a new one in return. This project is one of our favorite examples to show how we can upcycle an old product and contribute to closing the loop of plastic recycling.

Are you curious about what we could create out of your plastic waste? Send us an email to info@vanPlestik.nl for potential collaborations.

Hygienic Hooks: Plastic Recycling takes on COVID-19

Increasing the hygiene level during the Covid-19 crisis

During the latest Coronavirus outbreak, measures and restrictions have been put into place to protect the population from getting infected. Among these are the requirements of wearing face masks, washing your hands regularly, and keeping the required distance. The outbreak also opened up a new market with the demand for products to protect yourself from the fast-spreading virus. We saw this as a great challenge to take on by applying our technique of 3D printing.

Part of the solution, not the problem 

Although it is uncertain how long the virus is able to survive on a surface like a doorknob, it is believed to stay there for multiple hours. Hygienic Hooks help you avoid touching doorknobs and other objects in order to stay safe and keep you from getting in contact with the virus. These hooks allow you to open doors and push elevator buttons without touching the actual surface, usually, they are made out of metal or virgin plastics. The team of vanPlestik decided to take the concept of the Hygienic Hook to the next level by producing a recycled version that is fast to produce but still fulfills the purpose of avoiding infection.

A smart technique behind a simple design 

We’ve spent years developing our designs and working on our printers in order to make sure that we produce robust furniture pieces. Our normal process involves making sure that all of our printers melt layer upon layer in order for it to stick together, resulting in a stable object. With these Hygienic Hooks our production process had to be changed again and we basically wanted to achieve the exact opposite. By applying our 3D printing technique, we are able to print these hooks in layers of which we can then ‘peel off’ multiple hooks. In this case, the technique has become very useful and allows us to create one big print, which results in potentially hundreds of these protective hooks. With this new and inventive technique of peeling off layers, we can now work on a semi mass production level by delivering a fast solution, saving energy by using recycled plastic, and helping the plastic recycling problem in the process.
Conventional plastic production techniques require a more complicated and therefore longer production process to produce a high quantity of objects. Compared to the most common used process, our technique enables us to go from idea to full-on production in just days, which saves us time and allows us to work independently. With our design, we can help everyone to stay safe and still stay true to working with 100% recyclable plastic.

Wouldn’t it be great if a tool for a health crisis that spread globally also supports the solution of another worldwide problem; the pollution of plastic waste?

Internship: Hands-on 3D Printer & Product designer


vanPlestik is looking for an ambitious designer who wants to contribute to our mission


About the internship

This internship is a combination of learning to work with our large 3D printers and designing your own product that you will produce yourself. The brief for the product is very open, so you will be able to fully use your creativity! We will teach you all about different types of plastics, melting temperatures and how to print the most beautiful designs with our large 3D printers. Meanwhile, you will work on designing your own product. We will train you to use Rhino software to convert your design into a code for the 3D printers, so that you are able to print a prototype of your own product at the end of the internship.


About vanPlestik: recycling plastic into beautiful products

We are a young company with a mission: creating beautiful circular products, raise awareness of the plastic problem and safe as much plastic as possible from incineration. We developed and build a 3D printer that uses plastic waste as a raw material. With our printers, we can locally recycle plastic into unique, high quality and affordable objects such as chairs, tables and flowerpots. We work with like minded companies such as HEMA, IKEA and Fairphone, and are looking forward to a few exciting projects in 2020! 

You will be working in a small but ambitious team, and will be challenged to truly contribute to the company. We have a very open and relaxed studio environment, and we enjoy a healthy lunch together every day.


Interested?

Do you want to contribute to our mission, and learn everything there is to know about 3D printing, and design and produce your own product? Send a message to roos@vanplestik.nl!

Why we can recycle plastic that would otherwise go to waste

We turn your plastic waste into high-quality furniture. Even if the plastic is not of the perfect quality or has a small contamination. This way, we save plastic that would otherwise go to waste. An example is our recent collaboration with Fairphone. During this project, we converted broken phone cases into a series of functional objects. The Delta is one of those objects. We designed it in collaboration with Studio Voronoi. The Delta is a multifunctional piece of furniture that can be used both as a stool and as a side table.

Why we can recycle plastic that would go to waste otherwise

Nowadays, more and more people separate their plastic waste. Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of that plastic waste is recycled. Partly because of various complications that appear during the recycling process. Contamination of the plastic, for instance. Our 3D printer offers a solution to this problem. Due to the size of our 3D printer, we can print large objects. The large scale enables us to recycle plastic that would otherwise go to waste. For us, a small contamination in the plastic is no issue.

This is precisely the reason why Fairphone ended up at vanPlestik. The company had inquired about recycling their covers in various places. However, the metal logo that each case is provided with, always proved to be a problem. Fortunately, we did succeed in recycling the covers. It resulted in a series of functional objects. The origin of these new products is still clearly visible. The covers have taken on a completely different shape, but the recognizable colors have remained the same. 

Why we can recycle plastic that would go to waste otherwise

Back to where it all started, the objects have found a place at the Fairphone headquarters in Amsterdam. The fact that the company now has new objects from their own waste, ensures added value. In short: the circle is complete.

Want to get your hands on a Delta? Head over to our webshop.

This is what makes every Wavy Table unique

Just as no wave in the ocean is the same, every Wavy Table is unique in it’s shape. This side table made of packaging material, is created with a special technique. The Wavy Table is a so-called parametric design. It offers us the possibility to digitally adjust the design before printing. Sounds complicated? Let us take you through the process.

This is what makes every Wavy Table unique

In an age of mass production, consumers seek something unique for their homes. The Wavy Table makes this possible in a very efficient way. Unlike various recycling methods, the start-up costs for a customized design are low. We can digitally adjust the parametric design to your wishes. Our 3D models are programmed with adaptable sliders. Every time we produce, we adjust the sliders. As a result, the 3D model changes and a different design is exported. In other words, no Wavy Table is the same.


Not only is every Wavy Table unique, the design is completely circular. For example, let’s say after a number of years you’re fed up with your Wavy Table. No problem. We can get you a new design, using the same material. Simply return the Wavy Table to our workshop. From here, we reshred the material and print a brand new piece of furniture. 

Want your own unique Wavy table? Click here to go to our webshop

Job opening: content creator / media & communication intern

vanPlestik is looking for an enthusiastic content creator / media & communication intern with a talent for photography.


During this internship you will work on external communication for various vanPlestik projects, in text as well as image. In a short period of time you will learn all about working in a small but ambitious company. You will experience at first hand how our products and projects are developed, while getting a lot of responsibility as well as the necessary guidance. You will be working in a dynamic, small and close team.

YOU:

Are a star in communicating and know how to convert an idea into clear communication. You can write inviting and fluent texts and you have experience in creating images / photography / graphic designs. You are responsible for the communications of vanPlestik and for setting up social media activities. You help create, set up and implement (online) marketing & promotional activities. In addition, you assist with the preparation of workshops and events and support the team where necessary with daily activities.

You contribute to:

  • Awareness
  • Social media / content creation
  • Newsletter / flyers
  • Website updates
  • Events
  • Presentations

Job requirements:

  • You are studying / have have a degree in the field of communication, marketing and / or digital media
  • You are a strong communicator (in speaking as well as writing)
  • You have experience with photography, preferably product photography
  • Talent for visual media
  • You have basic skills in Microsoft Office and preferably Adobe
  • You like to take action and you have a proactive attitude
  • You have an interest in (plastic) recycling

WE:

Plastic waste causes major problems for people and nature worldwide. Fortunately, more and more attention is being paid to the separate and collection of plastic waste. However, far too little of this waste is turned into new products. vanPlestik has developed and built a 3D printer that uses plastic waste as a raw material. With this, we make plastic recycling possible locally. We convert plastic waste on demand into unique, high-quality and affordable objects – such as furniture and parts for the local industry. We are a young company with a mission: to develop beautiful circular products, make people aware of the plastic waste problem and save as much plastic waste as possible from the incinerator. vanPlestik is based in Amsterdam and collaborates with companies such as Brewery de Prael, Awakenings, Hema, Ikea and the Municipality of Amsterdam.

Do you want to contribute to our mission? Please contact roos@vanplestik.nl Send a short motivation, CV and portfolio and let us know when you want to start the internship. Ask? Call Roos on 06-30064962.