'Print Your City' Project Turns Plastic Into 3D-Printed Benches

An Amsterdam design studio has been able to create public benches from 110 pounds of plastic waste. Grounded-up material is turned into a twisting bench that can fit 2-4 people, has the ability to rock, and is fully customizable.


Nov. 19 2020, Updated 9:38 p.m. ET

We’ve not only been working to cut down on plastic use, but we’re finding creative ways to recycle it. After all, even if people reduce their plastic use, there's already plenty of it around that can be put into good use and given a second life. Recently, through the "Print Your City" project, public benches in Amsterdam have been created from the area’s plastic waste with a 3D printer. These unique benches provide an interesting way to relax in public and creates an incentive for citizens to recycle their products.

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The New Raw, a design studio based in Rotterdam, is behind the creation of these benches. “Print Your City” studies 3D-printing with plastic waste material. A prototype to come out of this is the curiously-named “XXX” bench.

Naturally, minds start to wander when combining Amsterdam with “XXX,” but there’s nothing adult-oriented about the prototype. This bench twists and bends, creating a way to rock back and forth on it. Two to four people can sit on it at a time, with half the bench facing the opposite direction of the other.

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How is all of this even done with 3D-printing? The plastic material is found from rounded-up waste products. It’s printed into a bench that is nearly 60 inches long, over 30 inches wide, and weighs 110 pounds. By doing this, it creates a closed loop as this public furniture is 100 percent recyclable.

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“XXX bench can be easily customized in shape or function and integrate personal messages or logos on it, like the logo of the city of Amsterdam,” The New Raw explains on their website. “In this way it invites citizens not only to participate in the material collection but also in the design process, thus increasing recycling rates and resulting in customizable parts that better fit the needs of their neighborhood.”

Don’t approve of the gray rubber look? The XXX bench is completely customizable to suit a potential customer’s needs on color, designs, and size. It’s not a surprise to see numerous customization options as the goal with the new bench is to engage citizens along with protecting the environment.

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As fun as the new public benches are, The New Raw would like to inform Amsterdam locals about plastic waste at the same time. Due to the rising trend of consuming single-use plastic packaging, this creates over 50 pounds of plastic waste annually per resident. Simple math shows that two Amsterdammers could make an XXX bench out of their waste each year.

The New Raw hopes to build on their 3D printing portfolio with new products such as playgrounds, recycling bins, and hubs at bus stops. Efforts like this join the ranks of others that have found use out of plastic waste, like creating swim trunks and massive pieces of art

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