Meet the makers at Embassy of Rethinking Plastic
The heart of the recently founded Embassy of Rethinking Plastic is Yksi Expo at Strijp-S in Eindhoven. For the next two years this Embassy explores how we can deal with plastic in a different way. A small meet and greet was held during Dutch Design Week and we were there to take a look.
Normally about 40,000 visitors come to Yksi Expo during DDW. This year, unfortunately, only small groups of people are allowed to visit the exhibition. During the meet and greet scientists and artists presented at the Embassy of Rethinking Plastic gave an introduction to their work.
Students of the photography school of the Koning Willem I College for example, show their view on plastics. Mees Princen used an analog camera for his self-portraits. He chose three everyday items, an Albert Heijn bag, a Spa Blauw bottle and an ice tea packaging, and placed them in a context of sex toys and bondage. Why throw away plastics when you can also have fun with them? Fellow student Sakaya Langenberg focussed on the amount of microplastics that enter our bodies through cosmetics and food, for example. She created three self-portraits in which perler beads, as enlarged microplastics, jump out of her body. Under each photo is a bottle with the same beads to make tangible what quantities are involved; on an annual basis about 250 grams per person (almost one and a half water bottles).
Jan Pels of TNO presents the principles of the TORWASH®, a recycling method for biodegradable plastics such as PLA. We already use these plastics, think of disposable cups at a festival. “It is precisely a closed chain like a festival that is suitable for ‘torwashing’ waste”, Pels explains. “After using them, you collect the cups and plates in order to shred and treat the waste according to the TNO method. The PLA dissolves into lactic acid and is then easily separated from the food waste and cellulose. The monomers can be used to make new virgin plastics. “The idea is to replace fossil plastics as much as possible with biodegradable plastics.”
The exhibition is one of the elements of the Embassy of Rethinking Plastic, says curator Leonne Cuppen. There is also a Rethinking Plastic House, about building with bioplastics and renewable raw materials, and a Rethinking Plastic Academy. Here, companies with a plastic issue are linked to students from mbo’s, hbo’s and universities. The Rethinking Plastic exhibition changes every few weeks and runs until the end of 2021.