Krukje van Plastik


This project started when one of my neighbours came by and said: ‘Lotte, do you know what to do with all of these plastic bottle caps?’ and then proceeded to hand me a trash bag filled with hundreds of plastic bottle caps (HDPE).
Being the sustainability lover that I am, I had to say yes! So for the next couple of months, I worked with the amazing material that is HDPE.

At the beginning of the project, I set two goals for myself:
1. I want to show how useful plastic trash can be
2. I wanted to exclusively use materials that are either worn out or considered trash.

In this way I’m able to make this project as sustainable as possible.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, there were no options for me to work anywhere else besides my own home. Therefore, everything here is done in my own kitchen*. The possibilities were limited, but this made for a lot of creative solutions! For example, for one of my first experiments, I used a sandwich iron. You can already see the plastic starting to melt, but it wasn’t bonding quite as well as I had envisioned.
I also noticed that melting the bottle caps as a whole is not ideal, so from here on I tried cutting them up in smaller pieces to have them melt easier.

For my next experiment, I used silicone moulds. I used the cut up bottle caps, layered them onto each other in the silicone mould and melted it all the way through using a standard convection oven.
By adding the pieces layer by layer and not all at once, the substance was able to really melt together and blend in nicely.
I ended up using this same technique to make the surface for my chair.

Creating the surface of the chair took a lot of effort and time. First of all, I had to sort all the bottle caps by usability (I very strictly only used HDPE for this project), clean them and cut them up into little pieces. Especially the cutting up took a lot of time, but I’m very glad I did it anyway. I find it extremely fascinating that over 200 loose bottle caps can come together to form such a strong surface.

Below you see an example of how one layer looks before and after going into the oven.

For the legs of the chair I made use of broomsticks. I attached these well enough so that I’m able to sit on the chair. I then made protection caps out of the plastic bottle caps to go on the endings of the three legs. This ties the whole chair together and helps protect the floor against scratching.

With this ‘krukje van plastik’, I hope to give you a new outlook on the functionality of plastic trash. Trash doesn’t need to be dirty or ugly, it can be functional and even beautiful.
In todays society we make a habit of overconsumption and I think this is something we need to change, fast. By buying product that are made out of pre-used materials, you are not contributing to the production of even more stuff!

*Disclaimer: if you think of working with plastic yourself, please first educate yourself on the toxicity of different types of plastic. Some types of plastic are, when heated up until a specific point, almost always toxic. Make sure you have good ventilation and proper work attire so you don’t put yourself or others at risk.

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