Former bin collector Arnout Schaap and graphic designer Jorick de Quaasteniet want to go into space… to collect plastic. One plastic bag to be exact.
While there are millions of bits of space junk floating around the Earth and damaging satellites, there is also a lot of ordinary stuff like toothbrushes, cameras, Elon Musk’s car, and a whole lot of plastic. Schaap and Quaasteniet have a plan to pick up one of the plastic bags. Yes, just one. It is the cover of a device that astronauts used to measure the distance between the moon and the Earth in 1969 during the Apollo program.
NASA was able to bring astronauts back from space, but not plastic. Moon Mission 2030, the name of the Dutch project, is going to do something about it. Their current plan is to build a small robot to go and pick it up. It would be built with the help of students of many ages. The general idea is to have their small robot ready once astronauts will be ready to go back to the Moon in the not too dist future.
Do read the interview in Dutch in the link below.
(Link and image: vice.com)
Tags: plastics, space
The whale shown above was made from old plastic and is called ‘Skyscraper (The Bruges Whale)’, named after the summer art and architecture festival at which it was exhibited last summer in Bruges, Belgium. A professor from Utrecht University liked the whale so much, she was committed to getting it installed in Utrecht, and it was recently unveiled. It can be found in the Catharijnesingel.
The whale was created by StudioKCA of New York City, run by Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang. The creators explain that is it a baby whale 12 metres high made from five tonnes of plastic, including a 1970s drum kit for some reason. Klimoski said that if anybody thinks this is a lot of plastic, imagine what’s floating around in the ocean. A lot of the whale’s plastic is from Hawaii where there’s a lot of plastic soup to be found. The rest of the plastic was fished out of rivers in New York state.
Why didn’t they use plastic from the North Sea to build an artwork in Bruges? Simply because they work in the US and that made more sense. Had they built the whale in Belgium, then they would have used plastic from the North Sea for sure. Although the plastic was found in the US, much of it comes from the European continent (namely Russia) and China, which gives people an idea how far plastic travels in the ocean.
(Link and photo: vice.com)
Tags: Belgium, Bruges, plastics, Utrecht, whale
Inspired by a two-year stay in Mexico City where designer Thomas Hoogewerf saw plastic strewn about town and lots of car traffic, he decided to design a bicycle, addressing both problems at once and called it the ‘Better to transport’ project.
Most of the prototype is make from plastic, although the chain is made from steel. Hoogewerf explains that the bicycle is still not perfect, and has had help from Precious Plastic, a worldwide network of people who build recycling machines. He has also received help from people in India and the United States to help improve the frame and the front fork.
The idea is to point out, at the very least, the problem of mobility and used plastic in a city of millions.
It’s easy to have a discussion about cities being more bike friendly when you come from the Netherlands or Denmark, but the added value of making a bicycle out of rubbish as it were makes a statement and can be applied elsewhere in the world where there are similar problems.
One good thing about having a bicycle made from plastic is that if something breaks, you can replace it easily enough. And plastic doesn’t rust – great for big cities with a lot of rain. As well, the plastic is free and ripe for the picking.
(Link and photo: vice.com)
Tags: Mexico, plastics, recycling
We’ve mentioned wunderkind Boyan Slat a few times and it has always involved water and pushing boundaries. This time, at 19 years of age, he’s been making waves internationally with his Ocean Cleanup Project, which aims at ridding the world’s oceans of plastics. The best thing to do is just watch the video and let him tell you what his plans are.
Problem: The plastic is not static, it moves around.
Solution: Why move through the oceans, if the oceans can move through you?
Fix the sea water processors to the sea bed, and save vast amounts of funds, manpower and emissions.
In his bio, Slat says: “It will be very hard to convince everyone in the world to handle their plastics responsibly, but what we humans are very good in, is inventing technical solutions to our problems. And that’s what we’re doing.”
This fits in with my personal philosophy that using guilt, shame and other negative emotions to force people to do something positive is not the way to go. I am already looking forward to the rest of Slat’s career.
(Link: m.parismatch.com, Photo: screenshot of Tedx presentation)
Tags: invention, ocean, plastics