3D printed street furniture from household plastic waste

Print Your City, the ground-breaking initiative conceived by the Dutch-based research and design studio The New Raw moves from concept to city scale. Following the XXX bench prototype presented last year in Amsterdam, Print Your City launches its first Zero Waste Lab in Thessaloniki, Greece, equipped with a robotic arm and recycling facilities. Citizens can bring their plastic waste, design custom urban furniture and get actively involved in the recycling process. The lab closes the plastic waste loop with advanced technologies at the local level.

All image credits: Stefanos Tsakiris

The New Raw illustrates that it is possible to 3D print street furniture from plastic household waste or flakes from ground recycled products, by redesigning public spaces within the city. “Plastic has a design failure. It is designed to last forever, but often we use it once and then throw it away,"  says Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, founders of The New Raw. "With Print Your City, we endeavour to show a better way of using plastic in long-lasting and high-value applications." 

The initial prototypes are halfway between tree pots, benches and street furniture. Given that a standard prototype required 12 hours to print an average 100 kilos of plastic into a pot, Sakkas and Setaki decided to improve the quality of the materials and to optimise the design options, in order to reduce the production time frame.

This second phase has been officially launched with the central Thessaloniki inauguration of the Zero Waste Lab, where citizens can learn about the recycling process of plastic, read about the circular economy, and design new items of furniture for their neighbourhoods. Here, citizens can shape the designs and uses of each unique object according to their needs; they can choose which public space will house their piece, as well as the shape and colour. Additionally, the geometries are based on ergonomic curvatures that accommodate a relaxed body posture.

As soon as a citizen finalises their design, the Print Your City website provides information on the quantity of plastic that will need recycling in order to generate enough raw material for the 3D printing process.  For the entire duration of the project, The New Raw aims to recycle four tons of plastic waste, which roughly equates to the same amount produced by 14 family households in Greece.

To view more about the project, visit The New Raw's website

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