The New Raw, a Dutch research and design studio, has launched its first zero waste lab in Thessaloniki, north Greece. As part of the Print Your City project, citizens can utilise ordinary household plastic waste to design and 3D print benches, using specialised customisation software.
To promote the project to locals, The New Raw showcased its project with temporary installations of 3D printed chairs made from household plastic waste, placed around the city. The founders, Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, believe that this project will help people understand the various uses of these materials.
“Plastic has a design failure,” they said. “It is designed to last forever, but often we use it once and then throw it away.”
“With Print Your City, we endeavour to show a better way of using plastic in long lasting and high value applications.”
Cutting out plastic waste
Compared to traditional subtractive processes, additive manufacturing creates less material waste. Moreover, recycling used plastics to make 3D printer feedstock continues to be an active area for material development companies. In March 2018, Texas printer provider re:3D launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Gigabot X, which prints with pelletised feedstock made of recycled materials. And in 2017, the Australian not-for-profit organisation GreenBatch began crowdfunding to remove plastic bottles from landfills and turn them into filament, for use in schools throughout Western Australia.
Through the Print Your City project, The New Raw aims to recycle four tons of plastic waste, approximately the quantity produced by 14 family households in Greece. Last year, the company printed its initial prototypes but a standard model needed 12 hours to turn 100kg of plastic into a pot. Thus, the designers decided to improve the quality of the materials to reduce production time for the second phase.
Customisation of 3D street furniture
With the “Print Your City”, The New Raw has created a software that citizens can use to modify the shape and colour of a piece of urban furniture, as well as specific integrated functions, such as a built-in bookshelf, bike rack, mini-gym or dog feeding bowl. Users can also choose which public space will house their piece.
These base objects with integrated functions are intended to promote a healthy lifestyle – designs for seating are ergonomic, improving sitting posture. The New Raw has a dedicated website for submitting “Print Your City” designs. Since its launch in December 2018, more than 3,000 have been submitted so far. The company is currently reviewing the first wave of designs, but website visitors can still experiment with customization online and view the most popular variations.
Nominate a company for “3D printing for a better world” in the upcoming 3D Printing Industry Awards 2019.
Featured image shows a dog lounging on a 3D printed ergonomic street bench made from recycled plastic. Photo via The New Raw.