Ocean Plastic to Fantastic Project
1. COAT Paints
COATwas founded on the idea that the paint industry was ripe for disruption when it came to sustainability. It starts with doing away with tester pots in favour of peel-and-stick swatches, and ends with customers being able to return any left over product for recycling, with every step along the way carefully considered. Paints are also made to order to reduce waste. Find them on Portaire.
2. Smile Plastics
From worktops to wet rooms to retail display, Smile Plastics’ decorative panels can be found all over the world. They are made from recycled discarded plastics, and come in a variety of designs, from a terrazzo-like confetti of colour to a playful swirling marble-effect: look closer and you might catch a glimpse of the plastic’s original usage, such as a fleck of foil from a yoghurt-pot lid. It also works with designers on bespoke creations.
If creating a healthy indoor environment comes high up on your list of priorities, clay plasters are a great alternative to conventional gypsum or cement, being natural, breathable, non-toxic and VOC-free – and Cornwall-based Clayworks are experts in their field. It’s not just about the performance though: clay plasters have their own distinctive beauty, with a matt finish that comes in a variety of textures, from smooth to more rustic. See more on Portaire
Choosing timber for interiors is one of the greenest options, because it stores CO2 and has a low embodied energy (that is, the amount of energy it takes to process, manufacture and transport the finished product). Timber flooring company Havwoods takes sustainability seriously, using responsibly sourced FSC-certified wood, while selected products, such as its Venture Plank and Valour ranges, are Cradle-to-Cradle certified, which recognises products that maximise their contribution to the circular economy.
Looking for something a little different? Fab-brick, set up in France in 2018 by Clarisse Merlet, turns waste fabric into colourful bricks that can be used for wall-cladding, furniture and anything else that your imagination can conjur. The company has found clients in industries that already work with fabric, such as fashion, collaborating with them to turn their surplus into design elements for retail spaces and workplaces; it also sells its own range of accessories that incorporate the bricks, from mirrors to floating shelves, with furniture and lighting coming soon.
6. Honext Materials
An alternative to drywall or MDF, Honext’s cellulose board is made from 100% paper waste, delivering a product that is non-toxic, moisture-resistant, fire-retardant and possesses good sound and thermal insulation. It can be cut, drilled, sanded and fixed just like wood. Its manufacture is low-impact, too: Honext’s Barcelona factory runs on gas and electricity from waste digestion, and water is recycled in a closed-loop system.
The construction industry has a serious problem with demolition waste, and while the best approach is to adapt and reuse existing buildings, the next best thing is to find a way to up cycle the waste itself. Portuguese architecture and materials studio Studio 8 has developed MaterialSpecies, which is made from construction and demolition waste. It can be used for interior flooring and walling, countertops and furniture, with finishes and textures customised to suit each project.
A product made from dredged sediments may sound unpromising, but Dutch company Waterweg(which translates as ‘waterway’) performs a kind of alchemy to turn waste river sludge into permeable paving. The slabs allow water to seep through them, providing a potential solution for urban flooding caused by climate change. A feasibility study in Rotterdam should lead to the scaling-up of applications and production.