We all know that plastic pollution is a terrible global issue that has been affecting all of us for a while now. Therefore, it is imperative that we think of different ways of recycling and upcycling our unwanted plastic.
On this, we have written a lot about various solutions that have been introduced to help solve the plastic pollution problem. Some of our favourite innovations include scientists who engineered an enzyme that eats plastic, Bionic Yarn‘s collaboration with G Star Raw which launched RAW for the Oceans, a denim line that is woven with about nine tons of the plastic and Plastic Whale and Vepa who produced Plastic Whale Circular Furniture. Most recently, we find ourselves in awe of Antwerp-based designers, Joris Vanbriel and Vanessa Yuan. They are the duo behind ecoBirdy, a new brand that creates furniture from 100% recycled plastic waste from children’s toys.
Kid’s Plastic Toys, Inexpensive Objects, With Short Lifespans
As a parent, I am guilty of buying a ridiculous amount of plastic toys for my toddler. The thing is I have never give it much thought, even though children’s toys use plastic more intensively than other consumer goods. According to ecoBirdy’s website, 80 percent of toys end up in a landfill, incinerators or the ocean while 90 percent are made of plastic and are used for just six months on average. Now that’s food for thought.
When you hear those statistics, you realise that Vanbriel and Yuan’s idea of giving old plastic a new life makes a lot of sense. With a goal to recycle 250,000 kg of plastic toys, Vanbriel and Yuan told dezeen “We aim to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact. As we use innovative technologies, made for the reuse of plastic, there is no need to add any pigments or resin.”
“Our aim is to free our ecosystem from its pernicious impact.”
So far they have managed to keep their process ‘clean’ by accurately sorting, cleaning and grinding the plastic, to ensure that all their products are free from harmful chemicals. “It is clean, pure and 100 per cent safe”, confirmed a statement from the brand.
The Creation Of Long-lasting Products and Lessons Learnt Along The Way
Besides the recycling angle, Vanbriel and Yuan also want to enable kids to experience creativity and be more aware of sustainability. With reference to their interview with dezeen, they shared that there is an accompanying limited-edition storybook plus a school programme designed to introduce children to the circular economy. “Our aim is to minimise resource usage and waste by using sustainable materials to create long-lasting products that can be recycled – and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future,” said the ecoBirdy founders.
Supported and co-funded by COSME – an EU programme that aims to make it easier for small and medium-sized enterprises to access finance in all phases of their lifecycle- Ecobirdy’s debut at this year’s Maison & Objet furniture fair followed an in-depth two-year study into how to recycle plastic toys sustainably.
The collection, which is produced in Italy, is comprised of a charlie chair, a Luisa table, a Kiwi bird storage container to raise awareness to the endangered Kiwi, and a rhino lamp to raise awareness to the endangered Rhino- love it! With soft forms and rounded edges, I love how close-up you can see the ground flakes from the old toys. Light, stable and available in five colours the indoor or outdoor furniture is entirely kid-friendly and safe to use.
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.