The New Raw has launched the Zero Waste Lab in Thessaloniki, a research initiative where Greek citizens can upcycle plastic waste into urban furniture. Part of the larger Print Your City project, the project utilizes a robotic arm and recycling facilitates to create custom furniture pieces that close the plastic waste loop. The initiative aims to use flakes from recycled products to redesign public spaces within the cities.
The initial prototypes for the Zero Waste Lab were printed in summer 2018. Halfway between tree pots, benches and street furniture, the furniture pieces were designed to invite interaction from Thessaloniki's citizens. To reduce the production time frame, The New Raw decided improve the quality of the materials and optimize the design options. The second phase of the initiative has officially launched with the central Thessaloniki inauguration of the Zero Waste Lab, where citizens can learn about the recycling process of plastic, read about the circular economy, and design new items of furniture for their neighborhoods.
Individuals are free to shape their designs and create unique pieces that are best suited to their needs. From shape and color to specific integrated functions, the project offers a range of choices to promote a healthy and environmentally-friendly urban lifestyle. As the designs are finished, Print Your City provides information on the quantity of plastic that will be needed to generate enough raw material for the 3D printing process. Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, founders of The New Raw, said that, "Plastic has a design failure. 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."
Since the website launch in December 2018, more than 3.000 different designs have been submitted. Among the multiple options available to citizens on the website, the first public space in the central Hanth Park has been chosen to host Print Your City pieces starting in January 2019. For the duration of the project, The New Raw aims to recycle four tons of plastic waste, which roughly equates to the same amount produced by 14 family households in Greece.
Individuals and organizations can find out more at Print Your City.