From Trash to Tiles the Trashpresso

Upcycles Waste into Architectural Décor
A futuristic solution to plastic pollution arrives in Milan this April as part of the city’s design week 2018. Trashpresso is the world’s first giant portable and solar-powered recycling plant that turns trash into tiles.

Created by Miniwiz the Trashpresso compacts recycling into five simple steps: shredding materials before washing, air drying, dehumidifying, and baking it into hexagonal molds. The result is durable, long-lasting and weather resistant architectural tiles made from PET plastic. In its previous installations, the 40-foot recycling plant was accompanied by large black spheres made of recycled plastic lending a black canvas for the tiles to be applied.

Since it was unveiled in Shanghai in 2017, the Trashpresso has impressed audiences in Beijing, london and china’s tibetan plateau, with its ability to upcycle up to 50 kg of waste per hour. It also leaves a zero water footprint, as every liter it uses is looped back through three steps of filtration: quartz sand filter, ultrafiltration, and reverse osmosis. As well as Italy, its next stops include North America in the second trimester of 2018. The Trashpresso was showcased at the Milan design week 2018 from April 15th to the 22nd.


Biodegradable Natural Plastic Nuatan

Can Safely be Eaten by Fish
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recipe to create the new material, which can be injection moulded, 3D printed and blow-formed like traditional plastics.

The designers claim the material can withstand temperatures of over 100 degrees Celsius without losing integrity and has a lifespan of up to 15 years. “For the first time, a fully bio-based, biodegradable material can be considered as a competitor in terms of properties and process ability,” they state.

It could be used to replace all single-use plastic products such as water bottles, carrier bags and drinking straws - all items that have attracted negative attention recently due to their impact on the environment.
A type of compostable bioplastic made of corn starch, sugar and used cooking oil, created by Crafting Plastics Studio, could replace “all the packaging we know”, according to its designers.

Nuatan, which was presented at an exhibition during London Design Festival , is more durable than previous bioplastics and degrades harmlessly when composted or ingested.

Designer Vlasta Kubušová of Crafting Plastics Studio said that once the material has been granted a foodsafety certificate, it could be used for food and drink packaging, meaning its uses could be almost limitless. “Once we have the certificate, it can replace all the packaging we know,” she said.

Nuatan is the result of six years of research conducted with material scientists at the Slovak University of Technology. It is a blend of two different biopolymers.

Polyactic Acid (PLA) is a natural plastic derived from corn starch while Polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) is made from corn starch that has been metabolised by microorganisms.

Fully biodegradable bioplastic

The two ingredients are blended according to a patented
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Fish can eat it

Unlike plastics made from carbon-based raw materials, Nuatan is biocompatible, meaning it is harmless to living creatures. “It degrades inside the human body or animals,” Kubušová said. “If fish eat it, it just degrades in their bodies.“ The material is also biodegradable since it can be broken down in industrial composters.

However, the cost of producing the material needs to fall before Nuatan can be widely used. The designers are seeking partners to help develop new products to increase demand, which they hope will lead to a reduction in the price.

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We are hoping to find collaborators who want to include it in the right products, and not combine it with other materials, so it’s a mono-material,” said Kubušová. “If we can find the right collaborators, it can change things a lot.”

Bioplastic eyewear

The designers started out demonstrating Nuatan with luxury products, which are less affected by raw material costs. Two years ago the studio developed eyewear featuring frames coloured using natural pigments such as coffee waste, turmeric and indigo. Now they are looking to develop a wider range of industrial products and claim Nuatan can be used for everything except the most demanding uses, such as exterior parts of cars.

Suitable for 3D printing and blow forming

“We started with eyewear and now we’re using it for 3D printing, injection moulding and other plastic manufacturing technologies,” the designer said.

The material and its uses were demonstrated at an exhibition in London as part of the London Design Festival. Called Feel Free to Consume, the show was part of the
Brompton Design District. It comes at a time of rising interest among designers in exploring solutions to the problems of plastic pollution. Examples include multiple projects that make use of ocean plastic and other experiments with recycling plastics.

“There is more than one solution [to the problem of plastic waste], but this is one of the solutions we know can work within circular design,” said Kubušová.