Plasticity event draws recyclers and designers

Plasticity event draws recyclers and designers

September 2016 event in London invited the design community to weigh in on recyclable plastic packaging.

September 29, 2016

The September 2016 Plasticity Forum was held 21 September in London as part of the London Design Festival. Event organizer Doug Woodring says the venue was chosen “to help bring the design community into the big discussion on the future of plastic sustainability.”


Designers are one of the missing links to solving some of the complex solutions related to materials, designing for recycling, and societal process flow in terms of resource recovery, says Woodring. Those who know the issues will be better able to drive expansion of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) and UN sustainable development goals (SDGs) that many of the brands and clients they work for are striving to meet.


The Plasticity Forum in London offered speakers on the topic of plastic sustainability, with challenges and opportunities that included the manufacturing needs for an innovative single-material shampoo bottle, the use of calcium carbonate from large volumes of egg shells as a filler for any types of polymers which can benefit from its inclusion.


Giulio Bonazzi, chairman and CEO of Italy’s Aquafil Group, spoke about his firm’s fiber recycling capacities from carpet tiles and used fishing nets. Aquafil has a program with carpet maker Interface that sources fishing nets from local communities in the Philippines and Cameroon. Bonazzi and Miriam Turner from Interface said that “over 100 tons of nets have been collected, with over 55,000 families impacted by a cleaner environment, and over 600 families now having access to micro finance as a result of the Net-Works program.”


Marilu Valente presented her prototype design for a mono-material shampoo bottle that dispenses with the separate cap by creating a self-plugging dispensing hole. This allows for better standardization of material use, making it easier to recycle. “I am also looking for manufacturing companies and retailers to work with to distribute this innovative product, which is designed for recycling and reuse,” she told forum attendees.


Other speakers included Chris Grantham, circular economy portfolio director with IDEO; Quentin Drewell, U.K. circular economy lead for Accenture; Willem De Vos, CEO of the Society of Plastics Engineers;  Simon Widmer, project manager of Circular Design for the Ellen MacArthur Foundation; David Wilson, a director with Vanden Recycling; and Pankaj Pancholi, president of Just Egg.


The London event was the sixth international Plasticity Forum, with each having been in a different city each year to allow businesses, government officials and members of each community to learn about the logjams and dynamics of creating larger scaled new materials, recycled content and process flows to reduce waste and create value. A video recapping the London event can be found here.


“Plastic is a material that will be with us for years to come, both because it is so useful and because it does not easily go away,” says Woodring, Plasticity’s founder. “Plasticity offers a venue for collaborations and knowledge sharing to happen across sectors, which often is what creates big impacts and results. The design community is a critical component of the path forward to reduce waste, and we look forward to hosting more events with the design community involved.”