As Beautiful as Marble - Innovating Soft Plastic Recycling

Seeing the amount of our soft plastic waste in landfills or in containers contaminating rivers in other countries is heartbreaking and needs to stop. The irony is that we are throwing away such a wonderful resource.

PECO - Plastic Essence Collaborative is specifically working on soft plastics that are, for the most part, unrecyclable. That's because they're soft - they gum up conventional recycling machines.  

Detail of Jester

We, at PECO, are getting more and more excited by the possibilities of soft plastic recycling in our art and in other forms. The spontaneity of the resulting melted plates is always a thrill. There's nothing like the moment after planing the top off a new sheet and seeing the marble-like patterns inside.

All the colour comes from household plastic waste from grocery aisles. By crafting our products in this way, the visual appeal makes the viewer see the piece as aesthetically pleasing rather than as a piece of recycled trash. 

The challenge we are working on is scale. As we grow our business, we realize that size matters, not only for the bottom line, but for the environment. Creating larger commissions such as Wisteria Place, means more plastic waste is being recycled into something meaningful. In turn, this means we are achieving our mission.

To get there, we set out to create a plastic plate that itself is up to 4 feet in dimension. Our plastics press is a hot press design mostly for pellets as they are concentrated with little to no airspace in between. This is the conventional way.

But we have decided to take the road less travelled and work ONLY with soft plastics, as there seems to be no real solutions for this type of waste. Working with soft plastics is difficult as the plastic itself is bulky. To get around this, we bundle to minimize mass. This takes time as we have to sort and clean beforehand.

 
 
 
 

 

But once the melting process begins, the hard work pays off. Our sheets are becoming bigger in line with our designs and dreams. 

This means we are able to take much larger commissions. We are currently marketing towards companies and organizations looking for a community engagement solution where collecting plastics and creating a custom mosaic representing their values is of interest to them. We call this PECO-X. More on this in posts to come.

 

 

As Beautiful as Marble - Innovating Soft Plastic Recycling