Amsterdam seems to be something of a hotbed of recent activity for recycling plastic to make furniture, in the case of last year’s Print Your City! To 3D print curvy street furniture.
With 8 billion kilos of plastic waste predicted to enter the world’s rivers, lakes and oceans in 2018, ‘plastic soup’ is a growing global problem. Hoping to provide a solution, Plastic Whale and Vepa has joined forces to produce Plastic Whale Circular Furniture. Launched on the 22nd of February 2018, the high-end office furniture is made from Amsterdam Canal Plastic.
Plastic Whale describes itself as the world’s first plastic fishing company, and more than 11,000 people have volunteered to help it remove plastic from Amsterdam’s canals since the firm began its cleanup operation in 2011. Over 100,000 plastic bottles and more than 2,000 bags of plastic waste have been removed, and 10 boats made from plastic trash now regularly take net-holding crews onto the canals to fish for more plastic waste.
For the recently launched Circular Furniture project, Plastic Whale has partnered with furniture maker Vepa and the Lama Design studio to make high-end office furniture – currently comprising a boardroom table, a chair, lamps and acoustic wall panels.
The top of the 4 meter long, 1.4 m wide and 0.75 m high (13 x 4.6 x 2.4 ft) table was inspired by a surfacing whale and features a raised ridge along its center, and is made from a sandwich of recycled PET, FSC-certified birch ply and metal plating. The legs are made from FSC-certified oak with metal bars in between.
The shape of the office chair is said to resemble the tail of a whale. The bucket seat has a cast iron base made from waste from the Vepa factory, a pressed and recycled PET felt back and a seat shell of ply with oak veneer top layer.
The cushion is made using dust waste and wrapped in a cover fashioned from recycled plastic bottles, and FSC-certified beech or oak legs raise it to sitting height.
Barnacles found on the skin of a whale inform the shape of the lamp, which is made from PET, felt and makes use of energy-efficient LED filament bulbs. PET felt is also used to make the acoustic panels, which can be had with or without LED backlighting.
All of the office furniture has been designed in such a way that, at the end of its useful life, it can be broken down for reuse or recycled to make something new.
Some of the money raised from the Plastic Whale Circular Furniture project will be used to fund local plastic cleanup initiatives around the world, hopefully helping to turn the tide on a massive global problem.