I reckon that recycled plastic is one of the few inputs where businesses say, “What can I make with this resource?” Everyone else says, “I want to make this product. Now how should I do it?” To better tackle the plastic waste issues, I think there needs to be something in between the supply and demand dilemma – that is…making with purpose.
As I walk around my house and neighborhood, I often think about things that could be made from recycled plastic – an endless resource at the moment instead of what is currently used and often limited i.e. wood, virgin plastic, steel etc.
On my office desk right now, I see my wooden desk, and a plastic calculator, stapler and tape holder. There are pens and markers also made of virgin plastic. I have metal souvenir license plates decorating a file cabinet. Any of these things could have been made from recycled plastic if the maker only designed it that way.
While trees are renewable, they also soak up carbon from the atmosphere. When cut and processed, they release that carbon.
Virgin plastic and steel are extracted from natural resources that are limited. And the process to do so also releases carbon emissions.
And yet, we have plastic spilling out of landfills and polluting the waterways. Wouldn’t it make more sense to be making with purpose – to purposely use resources that are readily available?
Dear makers, include this thought into your next design phase.