September 10, 2015

Finnish project has designs on municipal waste

The key to the project’s success: the Origo keyrings were designed by esteemed Finnish designer Eero Aarnio.
The key to the project’s success: the Origo keyrings were designed by esteemed Finnish designer Eero Aarnio.
VTT

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has successfully utilised municipal solid waste to fashion design products.

The ReLight project transformed soiled, used grave candles into high-standard plastic material. This was then sculpted into a trial batch of Origo keyrings designed by Eero Aarnio.

Some 85 per cent of the plastic that was used originated from candles collected by scouts from various graveyards around Tampere. A school class was then invited to VTT to sort the load as a means to collect money for a school trip.

VTT recovered certain fractions of the material, which was cleaned and ground before being used for melt processing of a material mixture. Some fillers and colourants were added to the mix.

Whilst plastic collected with mixed waste is typically harnessed for energy production, the success of the project opens the door to a different approach to recycling.

“[The project] lays foundations for seeking other potential material flows, and disseminates the know-how gathered through the project for raising the degree of plastic recycling,” says Satu Pasanen, research scientist at VTT. The future impact of the project “depends on the attitudes and the will to make things better with a view to the environment. I believe consumers to value products that are of high quality and contain skilfully refined recycled materials.”

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