Artist Transforms Landfill Waste Into 'Plasma Rock' Material

"Plasma Rock" is a way to create renewable building resources from the stuff people have thrown in the trash, and one artist and designer is making a point to show we can put landfill waste into creative projects. 


May 24 2019, Updated 10:03 a.m. ET

Inge Sluijs is an artist and designer who is using a material called “Plasma Rock” to rethink how landfill waste can go to good use. Inhabitat reports that Sluijs is using a process that heats materials found in landfills at very high temperatures, essentially boiling them down until they make an extremely durable and non-toxic rock-like substance that can we used for all sorts of purposes. 

Plasma gasification is a process that has been around for awhile, but the ways Sluijs is finding to use it are making people take another look at the renewable material.

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It takes about 220 pounds of landfill material to make about 44 pounds of Plasma Rock. Though often formed into tiles, which is great for building, the rock starts as a powder, which can be shaped into a number of different things. Sluijs has been using her experiments with the material to bring attention to environmental issues in an area of Essex in the United Kingdom called Tilbury. The East Tilbury landfill is a coastal landfill site, which is a perennial worry as climate change contributes to rising sea levels and the potential for further ocean pollution from debris and toxic waste. 

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Sluijs uses the Plasma Rock to produce Tilbury Tiles, which she decorates and sells as souvenirs to draw people's attention to the issues at the landfill. She has also started making glass vases that incorporate flecks of the rock. On her website, Sluijs calls the project "The Rebirth of Waste," an appropriate name for a potential new resource that gives back right when it's been written off as garbage.

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