Lucas Couto, Senior Industrial Designer at EGGS Design in Norway, is focused on turning plastic pollution into innovative recycled designs. The designer has teamed up with plastic recycling company Precious Plastic to help reveal the potential of plastic waste in the design space.

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A cactus in a recycled plastic pot, sitting next to two other plastic pots in various shades of red and purple.

According to Precious Plastic, the world produces about 300 million metric tons of new plastic each year. And since plastic has one of the slowest decomposition rates — close to 500 years — all of that waste has the potential to stick around for generations to come. The company is on a mission to show the world the opportunities of plastic waste, reduce the demand for virgin plastic and create a circular economy based around plastic recycling.

A pink recycled plastic side table with a vase of pink flowers on it. Behind that table is an identical purple table.

Related: KALO’s PVC Bench is made from plastic waste and wood scraps

Precious Plastic teaches everyday people how to create their own plastic recycling company and turns almost any type of plastic waste into large colorful sheets of new material that can be used to make different types of products (such as furniture and construction pieces). Upcycled plastic sheets come in a variety of colors based on the plastic products used in manufacturing. The community develops tools and machines that recycle plastic and share it with others around the world.

A plastic grid in a color gradient of pink to purple.

Now, the company is collaborating with designer Lucas Couto on a project aimed at engaging the community in designing recycled plastic products. Over three weeks in July 2020, the Recycled Plastic Product series focused on challenges centered around different Precious Plastic Machines. Each week highlighted a different plastic recycling technology: injection molding, beam extrusion and sheetpress.

Two photos. To the left, two interlocking tables in pink and purple. To the right, a silver contraption with four indented circle spaces.

For example, a stool designed by Couto used extruded beams made from sheets of recycled plastic made up of four separate pieces that fit together. Another stool design helps to visualize the sheet press materials. After becoming inspired by the nursery pots around his home, the designer also created flower pots that highlighted the looks of mixed color injection molding while providing a product that would benefit from recyclability.

+ Lucas Couto

Images via Lucas Couto