Plastic trash from Amsterdam’s canals turned into lovely furniture

Plastic whale
© Plastic Whale

In “fishing” for plastic to create new things, Plastic Whale Circular Furniture tackles a number of problems at once.

While of course the best solution to plastic pollution would be to stop making plastic altogether, until then, we've got a lot of very vexing plastic on our hands. Consider the following a case study.

PROBLEMS:
1. Amsterdam’s canals are filled with plastic trash
2. Plastic pollution in the world's water is becoming one of the most pressing issues of our times
3. New furniture often relies on virgin materials that introduce the potential for even more pollution

What to do? Scoop plastic waste from the canals; turn it into furniture. Which is exactly what Dutch “plastic fishing” organization, Plastic Whale, and furniture manufacturer Vepa are doing.

Called Plastic Whale Circular Furniture, the new collection of high-end office furniture is made with plastic collected by Plastic Whale; the organization that made its very meta mark when it began building plastic-collecting canal boats made out of the plastic it had collected form canals.

"Our mission is to create economic value from plastic waste, involving as many people as possible,” says Marius Smit, founder of Plastic Whale.

And it all fits in nicely with the work Vepa is doing in terms of sustainability. In addition to the canal plastic, the company is using steel waste from their factory in the collection as well. Amazingly, they collect a return deposit on the pieces. Janwillem de Kam, Vepa’s Managing Director, explains:

We are rapidly becoming a waste-free factory and even process the waste of others in this collection as well ... Moreover, our deposit-return scheme will ensure that no new waste is created: At the end of a product’s life cycle, we will collect it from the consumer, who will then receive a refund of the product’s surcharge. We will then disassemble the furniture so that individual parts can be reused or recycled.

The collection is comprised of a boardroom table, a chair, lamps and acoustic wall panels – with design components inspired by the whale for which the collection derives its name.

Part of the sales proceeds will be invested in initiatives around the world that tackle plastic pollution ... and potentially can supply Plastic Whale Circular Furniture with a whole lot of plastic that can forever be removed from the wastestream and introduced to the boardroom.

See more about this whale of an endeavor in the video below, and visit Plastic Whale for specs.

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