Recycled plastic furniture: Sustainable designs made from plastic bottles
Dutch environmental organisation Plastic Whale has referred to the plastic waste building up in natural bodies of water all over the world as a “plastic soup”. Each year, around eight million tonnes of plastic are added to the waste that is already swimming around our oceans – threatening to tip our sensitive seas and the countless species of creatures that they sustain out of their delicate balance. In a campaign entitled “Stop talking. Let’s start doing!”, Plastic Whale and furniture manufacturer Vepa have partnered up to help save our seas – by transforming some of the plastic waste we generate into recycled plastic furniture.
The collaboration’s first collection, called “Circular Furniture”, includes a conference table, chairs, lamps and noise-reducing wall panels with LED lighting – ideal for the modern office.
Part of the profit generated by the sale of the furniture is donated to local initiatives that are tackling the problem of plastic waste in the locations where help is most urgently needed.
Exclusive recycled plastic furniture for the modern office
The recycled material used in the “Plastic Whale by Vepa” office furniture is sourced directly from the Netherlands. To date, Plastic Whale has collected 150,000 PET bottles from Amsterdam’s canals alone. This plastic waste is washed and chopped up before being turned into granulate. This granulate is the starting point for the PET felt and PET foam used in the recycled office furniture.
Design inspired by threatened ocean species
Amsterdam-based design studio Lama Concept designed the recycled plastic furniture to look – and feel – like a whale. The designers drew inspiration from this particular ocean dweller because it is among the species threatened by plastic waste entering its natural environment.
Whale-like elements have been designed into the elegant conference table, which appears to incorporate a whale swimming under the “water” surface – complete with distinctive blow holes. The premium finish of the grey table surface is achieved with a four-millimetre layer of PET felt. Inside, there is a further 30-millimetre layer of recycled PET foam. The FSC-certified wood table legs and recycled steel supports are reminiscent of the bone structure of the ocean mammal.
The table is 4 metres long and 1.4 metres wide, and is equipped with a console with four power sockets. Each conference table repurposes over 1004 PET bottles.
The chairs are also inspired by the whale and its majestic tail fins. The cast iron frame of the chair is made from melted and pressed steel waste; the back rests and cushions are covered in PET felt. The noise-reducing wall panels are also made of pressed felt, creating a subtly lined surface finish inspired by the whale’s gills. The LED backlighting in various tones makes the wall panels suitable for any environment.
Another highlight of the collection: The lamps are designed to look like the barnacles that attach themselves to the whale’s skin in search of food. The lamps are also made of PET felt and use LED bulbs.
Is plastic really a throwaway material? The recycled plastic furniture concept by Plastic Whale and Vepa is designed to force us to rethink our relationship with plastic and to highlight one of the most pressing problems of our time:
The pollution of our oceans with plastic waste. The project proves that any reduction in the plastic that ends up in the seas will help the environment.
What do you think of recycled plastic furniture? Let us know in the comments!