From Plastic Waste to Public Benches

There’s a serious flaw in the way plastic packaging is designed, points out architect and designer Panos Sakkas. »It’s made to last forever, but thrown away shortly after it’s used.« This was what led Sakkas and Foteini Setaki to launch the project »Print Your City!«, which transforms recycled synthetics into public benches and other useful objects with the help of 3D printing.

The project’s first prototype is the »XXX bench«, which is a meter and a half long and weighs 50 kilograms. It was produced by the company Aectual, which has a large, robot-based extrusion 3D printer at its headquarters on the north side of Amsterdam.

Print Your City! is centered on the idea of turning recycled plastic waste into synthetic pellets. »This comes with some challenges,« Sakkas concedes. »The material can be contaminated by dirt and unwanted synthetics, it can break down under certain weather conditions, and it can contain unknown additives that give off toxic fumes when melted down.«

The »XXX bench« was tested in downtown Amsterdam at the Museumplein (a square that features the »Rijksmuseum«, the »Stedelijk Museum«, and the »Van Gogh Museum«) and in front of the »Stadhuis«. The city has since begun talking with investors about making more of them and placing them in various locations.

In the future, the designers want to incorporate recycled plastic into further uses that benefit the public, including bus stops, playground equipment, and containers for other recyclable materials.

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