By now you’ve probably heard of overtourism, and that Amsterdam is one of the European capitals affected by it. People are going to continue to come to Amsterdam, but there are ways of not being a nuisance and contribute to a positive atmosphere: helping the city clean up the plastic in the canals.
Set up eight years ago, Dutch group Plastic Whale aims at creating economic value from the plastic waste the boat tours dredge from the canals. Plastic bottles are separated from the rest of the rubbish and recycled to be used in office furniture or even in building more Plastic Whale boats. They also have tours of Rotterdam, which is not yet overrun by tourists, where they attracted some 12,000 visitors in 2018 just to fish some plastic.
Plastic Whale’s founder Marius Smit says that despite the growing strain on Amsterdam from huge numbers of tourists, local residents are also “careless with their own waste”. I can attest to this even outside the city centre as I’m an ‘adoptant’ of the bins on my street. “The city’s bins fill up more quickly because of the numbers of tourists […]. Before you know it, there is a lot of waste on the streets, then it begins to rain or the wind begins to blow and it rains or blows into the canals,” Smit adds.
Britain’s Prince Harry was supposed to be one of the visitors earlier this year but had to cancel due to the birth of his son Archie.
A few days ago, a branch of organic food supermarket chain Ekoplaza in Amsterdam West not far from 24oranges HQ, opened a plastic-free pop-up supermarket, selling close to 700 plastic-free products. Although the initiative comes from international action group A Plastic Planet from London, Amsterdam’s Plastic Soup Foundation was able to convince the Londoners to launch the world premiere in the Dutch capital.
The packaging resembles the look, feel and strength of real plastic, but is made using natural, 100% biodegradable materials. Ekoplaza has 74 supermarkets throughout the Netherlands and hopes to rollout this concept to other branches by the end of 2018.
“Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros developed a bioplastic made from algae, which they believe could completely replace synthetic plastics over time, while Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Shahar Livne created a clay-like material using discarded plastic.”
And if they can do, so can everybody else at some point, starting with the insane amount of uselessly, individually wrapped vegetables at regular supermarkets.
Filed under: Art,General by Orangemaster @ 1:41 pm
A painting by Vincent van Gogh, ‘The Starry Night’, has been replicated by a Taiwanese company using four million colourful plastic bottles with the goal of promoting recycling.
Taking up 53 hectares of the Starry Paradise park on the outskirts of Keelung City, the installation was opened to the public early this year to mark the 125th anniversary of van Gogh’s death.
“We were thinking of combining the idea of environmental protection with PET bottles and this landscape to create a piece of art, so that everyone can get to know another side of recycling,” explained Aisin Yeh, of the Unison Developing Co. Ltd, which undertook the project.
The project cost USD 2.6 mln and took four months to complete, according to the video. Have a look:
Dutch designer Dave Hakkens has created devices described as ‘a solution to plastic pollution’ that people can download and build themselves. The series is called Precious Plastic machines, which uses everyday materials and basic tools Hakkens says are available around the world.
Precious Plastic machines include a shredder, extruder, injection moulder and a rotation moulder, which can all be used to turn waste plastic into new products. Hakkens first showed prototype versions at the Design Academy Eindhoven graduation show in 2013, and has spent the last two years refining the designs.
Hakkens wants to deal with the reported 311 million tonnes of plastic waste humans create every year, of which less than 10 per cent is actually recycled. “A lot of things we have are made from plastic. It’s used everywhere, but it also ends up everywhere, damaging our planet.”
In late 2013 Hakkens partnered up with Motorola in order to create mobile phones to combat electronic waste: not throwing out an entire phone and swapping out a broken component instead.
Thousands of bags a day were handed out at the market. Most of these bags ended up in the garbage having been used only once and many bags blew away and littered the neighbourhood.
In 2011 the market in Dordrecht started an awareness campaign with the same goal. Vendors were asked to display signs asking shoppers to bring their own bags. According to the campaign website, one vendor, a baker called Kanters, has seen the amount of plastic bags he handed out for free drop by as much as 90%. He has since started charging 10 cent a bag from the remaining die-hards among his customers.
Expiration dates on food are just a guideline. Sometimes, things like milk are bad from the get-go, while tinned products seem to last for years. However, we don’t really know, as most of us make sure nothing green is growing on our food or sniff it to make sure it smells alright.
But wouldn’t it be great to have the guesswork taken out of the equation? The Eindhoven University of Technology is working on doing just that using a plastic analogue-digital converter, or plastic chip. The cost of having these chips on food are less than a euro cent and could also be used for other expiration date sensitive goods such as medicine.
One of the researchers on this project says food can be monitored already using standard silicon chips, but that is too expensive, about 10 euro cent, which is too much for a one euro item. That is why they are using plastic, as the chips can be applied directly to packaging. And apparently, the chips use some very complex mathematics to make sure they work properly.
Behold this 17th century painting, the delightful play of dark and light. Except it is not a painting, or even from the 17th century, as Hans Aarsman points out:
Look carefully now. Doesn’t the dark grey tablecloth look remotely familiar? It’s a plastic bin bag, just torn from the roll, the folds unmistakably plastic bin bag folds. The plates are made of plastic too. The lemon, the cans, everything is made of plastic. Close examination will reveal the casting seams. The fish is inflatable.
This doesn’t celebrate the old, it celebrates the here and now.