“Can we, as citizens, take advantage of the plastic waste and use it to build our cities? Of course we can! With the power of recycling and 3D printing technology!” – Print Your City
Within the framework of the “Zero Waste Cities” initiative, the “Print Your City” initiative promises to put this declaration into action. Rotterdam-based research and design studio The New Raw opened a Zero Waste Lab at the Greek city of Thessaloniki. The Zero Waste Lab is part of Coca-Cola’s Zero Waste Future program for the Print Your City project. The city of Thessaloniki was chosen as the first city in Europe to implement their program. Through this, it has great potential to become the first city in Greece with a prospect of becoming Zero Waste.
Panos Sakkas and Foteini Setaki, founders of The New Raw, said:
“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.”
Through the “Print Your City” action, citizens gather their plastic waste and place them in blue bins. It is then collected in order to recycle and convert it into valuable utilitarian objects for the city with the help of 3D printing technology. In this way, the people decide as active citizens, to innovate, create and collectively contribute into making Thessaloniki a Zero Waste City. Since December 2018, over 3,000 designs have already been submitted.
Through the “Print Your City” website, and with the help of the principles of cyclical economy, anyone can design new furniture for the city; they can even choose the area where they’d like their piece to go! If you visit the Zero Waste Lab, they will teach you how to turn your waste into raw material and how to give the garbage a second life, all through an innovative and interactive experience. You will also have the opportunity to see their 3D printer printing furniture for the city using the citizens recycled plastic.
Each bench weighs 50 kg and measures 150 cm long and 80 cm wide. The studio can produce as many or as little as the city requires. The urban furniture is 100% recyclable, made anytime as there is always enough material because of the steady stream of plastic waste coming in. It is turned into shreds and pellets to be stored and ready for printing. The benches are made in collaboration with Aectual on a large-scale pellet extrusion 3D printer. The furniture pieces are designed to invite interaction from Thessaloniki’s citizens.
This wonderful project turns waste into an opportunity. It is fun, interactive, and educational. It creates a greater sense of belonging to a community with the ability to contribute something tangible and functional to the city. Hanth Park, in the center of the city, will be the first place where Print Your City pieces are put to use. The goal is to transform four tons of plastic into attractive urban furniture by the end of the project. That is about the same amount produced by 14 family households in Greece. Imagine if they did this in every city around the world, how fun that would be!