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

The power of one

Often people think of environmental issues as too big to be able to make a difference as an individual. Artist Peter Smith is on a mission to change this mindset. We meet him in his workshop, where he tells us all about the philosophy behind his work: ‘the power of one’.

The World of Litter

Strangely enough, nobody saw plastic waste as an environmental issue before the year of 2012. But Peter Smith did. To raise awareness on this issue and “to enter the ports of the media like Odysseus once entered the ports of Troy”, he created an artwork in the shape of a globe, made of litter. It was a great success. The ‘World of litter’ generated 10 million media impressions and traveled through other cities in the Netherlands subsequently.

No act is too small to make a difference

For many organisations in the Netherlands, the ‘World of Litter‘ played a role in the process of acknowledging that plastic waste is a big issue for the environment. But that wasn’t enough. To really make a change in people’s mindset, Peter Smith dived into the philosophy behind the problem. “The issue is that many people believe their input is too small to make a difference. To me, the complete opposite is true. Like the flap of a butterfly’s wings, a small act can cause a hurricane of change. That’s why the logo of our foundation KLEAN is a butterfly with somewhat a hurricane inside.”



Minor effort, major effect

Picking up one piece of litter is a minor effort, but if everyone would do it – the effect would be major. Peter Smith even calculated that if 1 out of 4 people in the Netherlands pick up just one piece of litter a day, the litter problem seized to exist. That’s why Peter Smith asked people to pick up just one plastic bottle and send it to his workshop. With this, he received 100.000 littered bottles – a total of 2500 kilos of plastic. Smith will transform this amount of litter into an art piece:

“Again, it will be a Trojan Horse but this time a secret army will be hidden inside. The army consists of children who we will inform before hand on the story behind the statue. We provide them with enough ammunition in the form of arguments why it is important to pick up just one piece of litter every day. The most important argument will be: You do it out of love for your children.The idea is that the artwork will travel though the Netherlands, making a stop in every big city.”


The goal

The artwork will have the shape of a mother breastfeeding her baby to make people aware of the fact that plastic waste ends up in our food chain. The goal of the artwork is to change a mindset that not only causes the plastic waste problem but also affects the entire quality of life on our planet:

“It’s difficult to recapture the CO2 emissions of your neighbouror to ensure that your neighbour will eat lessmeat. But it’s very easy to clean up one piece of litter that someone else has dropped. If only 25%of the Dutchwould do so, we would save about 250 million Euro – the amount we currently spend on civil servants cleaning up litter. However, the most important thing for me is that people realise that their small actions do have an impact. That’s what I call the Power of One.”

The biggest 3D printed statue in the world

Peter Smith’s art piece won’t be just an art piece, it will be the biggest 3D printed statue in the world. Guess who’s 3D printing this piece? Yep, we are! About a year ago, we started to print the first pieces. The Plastic Madonna is going to be 12 meters long, so we are printing it in separate parts. We started with the feet, pictured above. Once all the pieces are connected, the Plastic Madonna will travel though the Netherlands, stopping in the biggest cities. In every city, Smith will organise lectures and events. Want to be a part of this project? Check the website.

You think your plastic waste is useless? Not according to our experts!

The first Expert meet-up was a great success. The event was part of the Social Tech Tour organized by research institute De Waag; a series of site visits to innovative, tech-enabled social enterprises. It was the first meet-up in the series of events on our research project “van Plestik, your own plastic“.

From all over the city, experts in the field of circular design came together to exchange ideas. Among the experts were Fabeel Butt (HEMA), Bob Vos (Polimeer) and Charissa Koolen (Institute for Sustainable Packaging). The first edition was all about the following question:

How do we maximize the impact of small sustainable initiatives such as vanPlestik?

The value of plastic

After all experts had arrived, Socrates Schouten, head of Commons Lab of the Waag, opened the evening with a short introduction about the Social Tech Tour. After Socrates had introduced himself, it was time for the rest of the group to briefly tell something about themselves. Not only did all experts have to share their name and job title, but also had to tell the group about the only plastic item they would never want to get rid of. For example, Nout would never throw away a small plastic dinosaur that he got from his girlfriend during one of their first dates. This proved that plastic can certainly be of great value for people and is more than just a disposable material.



From a bad idea to a brilliant solution

After this introduction, Nout told the group of experts all about the origin of vanPlestik and the ‘vanPlestik, your own plastic‘ project. Then Sam took over with a tour through the workshop. After the tour it was time to get started with a brainstorm. The experts were divided into three groups: longterm partnerships, (circular) business modelling or communication / awareness.

Each group formulated a problem statement from a different angle via the reversed brainstorming technique. Instead of coming up with solutions for a problem, this technique is ought to create ideas to make the problem worse. This results in absurd plans that stimulate the creativity of the participants. By the means of short sketches of ten seconds each group came to their ‘worst idea’. Afterwards this idea was inverted into a good idea, that was pitched to the entire group of experts.


So, what brilliant solutions did the experts come up with?

Let’s return to the main question of the evening; ‘How do we maximize the impact of small sustainable initiatives such as vanPlestik?’ With the imput of the experts, we have gotten a little closer to answering this question. For instance, during the brainstorming session, the communication / awareness group came to the conclusion that “placing someone on the corner of the street that shouts to people that plastic is of great value” is a bad idea. A no brainer, because it’s impossible to reach a big and targeted audience this way. The idea was therefore converted into a more realistic plan. The experts in this group recommend vanPlestik to collaborate with partners with a large following. “Create interactive campaigns” was their advice. Perhaps aimed at children, because those are the ones who will determine the future.

In addition, the group ‘longterm partnerships’ came up with the idea for a consumer loyalty program to create more interaction with the customer. Consumers or businesses could contribute their waste to vanPlestik and in return get recycled products made from their waste. Conclusion: enough food for thought for us!

Want to be a part of the next Expert meet-up?

Working together with the experts has been really inspiring and gave us a lot of new insights. We are already looking forward to the next Expert meet-up, which will take place in June. Do you consider yourself an expert in the field of circular design or do you want to become one? Keep an eye on our social media channels for more details!

‘vanPlestik, your own plastic’  is  a project made possible by: Stichting Afvalfonds, Stichting DOEN, KIDV, RWS, Polymer Science Park and Gemeente Amsterdam.