Waste Not Want Not: The Material Recycling Revolution

Posted by Samantha Drury Shore on

Whilst dreaming about my Grand Designs house (more on that here), I've been researching furniture and materials made from waste plastic and other waste materials, and it has been fascinating


Kitchen Sink corner with flowers by a window

Kitchen in 'Alba' from Smile Plastics. Designed by Indie & Co.


Since 3D printing has become more accessible in recent years, all sorts of awesome projects have been popping up around the globe, using post-industrial or post-consumer waste.


German Shepherd dog sitting on some grey street furniture by the sea


This is the "Print Your City" project by The New Raw, for Coca Cola Greece. Using waste collected from around the city of Thessaloniki, the company created an installation of 3D printed street furniture, working together with local citizens on the design.


Street furniture with integral trees, by the sea


The street furniture has extra integrated functions promoting a healthy and green city lifestyle. Each piece can feature a bike rack or a mini gym, a bookcase, an integral tree, or even a dog feeding bowl.

I believe the installation is only temporary, but what an exciting concept for future city planning. The idea of using the city's own waste to improve the health of the city and the lives of its denizens, that's exactly the sort of forward-thinking the world needs right now.


3D printing of red curve


Now clearly individuals aren't going to able to make themselves furniture from their own waste any time soon, but there are plenty of ways you can access this revolution in a more personal way, and even get your kids involved... Step up, EcoBirdy:


Children's Furniture Set


This brilliant Antwerp-based company is making children's furniture from recycled plastic toys.


Installation made of lots of tiny pieces of brightly coloured plastic


There's a fantastic video on their site showing the educational projects they've engaged in, so great to see kids being introduced to the pivotal ideas of reusing and recycling, early on:



The other company I came across in my research on recycled products is Smile Plastics. This Netherlands based firm produce beautiful handcrafted panels from waste materials.


Screenshot from Smile Plastic showing recycled panel designs


The panels are waterproof, and rot-proof, and can be used for a wealth of applications, from kitchen countertops, to large-scale commercial installations. Some examples...


Dappled blue restaurant table with a bottle of oil

Yard Sale Pizza in Walthamstow


Row of sinks in public toilet

Wellcome Trust Sinks, design by 3|10 Studio, build by Unique Fabrications. 


Bathroom shot through door with mint green walls and statement sinks

Residential interior designed by Lovely Gays.
Photo by Megan Taylor. 


Round blue park building

Clifton Park Buildings by Marsh Grochowski 


So when my dream house starts to take shape, I think I'll be kitting my bathroom out in a bit of Grey Mist: 


Dappled grey panel swatch


So I can be rocking the industrial vibe (I LOVE concrete), with none of the guilt - how marvellous! 

Have you seen any waste material projects you'd like to tell us about? Or are you working on something yourself? I'd love to do a follow-up blog post featuring more projects, so do drop us a line. 

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Back to the top Sign up for free