Related Post: Regenerated Nylon ECONYL® / Recycled Plastic by Ecobirdy / Sulapac® Biodegradable Material
Refoam is a series of furniture pieces that attempts to reframe today’s inappropriate and overly complex relationship between humans and materials. This project is part of we+’s research project, “Urban Origin”. By considering Tokyo as the origin of used materials, the project returns to the starting point of the relationship between humans and materials – “using vernacular materials and treating them simply with our own hands” – and explores new values for styrofoam.
The material used is waste styrofoam that is collected in Tokyo. It is common for this material to be melted into ingots in intermediate treatment plants in Tokyo and its suburbs, and most are exported to Europe and SouthEast Asia. In these countries, they are treated into granules and then into inexpensive recycled plastic products, mainly from China.
In Japan, these products are typically sold in 100 yen shops. Even though recycling rates are high, the process remains very complex, and the amount of transportation between countries is another problem. Refoam has therefore explored the possibility of making ingots in intermediate treatment plants for manufacturing furniture. The purpose of this project is to simplify the recycling process and, at the same time, to give a completely different value to styrofoam.