In this page we will show you a selection of news and projects we feel related to. Stay tuned and keep updated!

The “crazy” engineer of the desert El País

A young Saharan engineer designs an innovative shelter using PET plastic bottles in order to improve his refugee community’s life conditions.

Brilliant solutions come out when people are in deep need. Tateh Lehbib Braica, a 27 years old engineer, born and raised in the Algerian desert has been suffering all type of inclemency: 50 degrees’ temperature, sandstorms and heavy rains. For four decades ago, this inhospitable region has been home to the Saharan refugees who have been hardly living in mud houses with zinc roofs.

The nicknamed “crazy man of the bottles”, Tateh, has found an allied in the PET plastic bottles which are carried away to nowhere throughout the desert. Firstly, he built this innovative shelter for his grandmother and it worked.

There are several considerable advantages of Tateh’s houses. Since the walls must be solid barriers against the tough ecosystem, they are made of plastic bottles filled with sand, cement and a mixture of straw and earth, as insulation. Each house needs 6000 bottles and four people’s workforce during one week.

The circular shape fulfils two major purposes. On one hand, it avoids sand dunes to gather around the house. Secondly, the round shape of the walls painted in white, significantly reduces until a 90% the impact of the sun’s rays. The double roof with a gap for ventilation and the two windows built at different height allow airflows which achieve a five degrees’ lower temperature inside than the traditional shelters.

Graduated in Renewable Sources of the University of Algiers and after having finished a Master in Energy Efficiency of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tateh conceived this idea in 2016, after the great flood. The project has been recognized by international organizations such as Acnur and there are 25 new houses planed to be build and offered to people with disabilities, mental disorders or especially vulnerable families.

The collection of bottles has represented a small economic incentive for the volunteers and helped to increase awareness about the new uses of the plastic waste. The characteristics of this omnipresent material, such as its durability and flexibility are used for more and more varied purposes and areas, from architecture to design, such as PET Lamp project which reveals new aesthetics and functional aspects of the PET plastic bottles.

More info and source: El País

The Trash Vortex Greenpeace

Plastic rubbish has invaded our oceans, earth and lives. Tones of garbage are often unproperly managed so they are carried away on land and sea, dangerously harming environment and plenty of species. Basically, every plastic item we use every day, such as traffic cones, disposable lighters, tyres and even toothbrushes will almost certainly end on the bottom of the sea or ingested by any unsuspected bird or fish.

Plastic material has a great durability and does not break down as natural materials. Moreover, there is a huge contradiction between its very short lifespan and the time it takes to descompose, which should encourage more and more people to give plastic objects a second life, by reusing and converting them into new items.

World´s greatest trash container is the so-called “Trash Vortex”, also known as the “Eastern Garbage Patch”, a floating area equivalent to Texas or Turkey in the North Pacific, which slowly moves in a permanent rotation, shifted by the ocean’s currents. It contains astonishing plastic quantities breaking into small toxic fragments.

Apart from the danger of filling their stomach with plastic trash, animals must fight against these chemical sponges and their presence as ocean hitshhikers which damage the ecosystem.

The appropriate management of plastic waste and reusage could represent a future solution and alternative in order to minimize environmental impact. This harmful process starts ashore in areas like the Colombian Amazon, where tropical rains wash the PET bottles into the rivers, which in turn wash them out to sea, which inspired PET Lamp project.

More info and source: Greenpeace

Plastic Bottle Fish Sculptures Rio de Janeiro

Upcycling is more than a trend, it means creativity and environmental awareness. On Botofago beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, plastic bottle sculptures have harmoniouly integrated into the landscape. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development created these giant installations made of plastic bottles to raise people’s awareness about this global problem.

Plastic waste has turned into a global problem and thread to many species living in our oceans and seas. On this Brazilian beach, plastic bottles have been given fish shape, as a call to action for recycling. Everybody walking on the beach could read the next message: “recycle your attitude”. It is an attitude problem indeed, since plastic currently represents the major ocean pollutant.

The sculpture was built on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. These giant fish were lit up at night in order to stand out and bring the message to more and more people.

Upcycling is the current philosophy of an increasing number of companies. PET Lamp believes in a second life of PET bottles and uses the durability and strength of this material in order to create unique lampshades.

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More info and source: Upcycle That

Plastic Bottle Art Veronika Richterová

Plastic bottles may extend their lifespan by serving for aesthetic purposes. This is the idea behind the project of the Czech artist Veronika Richterová, who uses heat in order to manipulate PET plastic bottles and turn them into beautiful sculptures inspired by nature.

Veronika recollects thousands of bottles every year. Her hands have come out a wide range of artworks, thus a new cycle is origined. Her items recreate plants figures and animals. Moreover, this avid reuser of PET bottles has observed the new models on the market for many years and started to gather different samples. Her collection currently contains over 3000 bottles from 76 countries around the world.

Since 1980 when plastic bottles have been placed on the market, their use and commercialization have drastically increased. They were incorporated to many other industries such as textile and carpeting thanks to the plastic material characteristics. It is strong, flexible, light and specially economic, but it does not descompose. Thanks to Veronika’s shaping techniques, this object turns into very creative sculptures.

In PET Lamp, we also believe in reuse as the counterpoint to recycling. Our starting point is the deep contradiction hidden in every PET plastic bottle: a very short useful life compared to the time it takes to plastic to descompose. PET Lamp turns the plastic bottles into contemporaneous desireable objects for the market, by just merging it with weaving techniques and industrial lighting.

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More info and source: Upcycle That

Weaving indigenous nets El País

Craftwomen belonging to different ethnic groups from Cauca region in Colombia are meeting and developing workshops in order to gain certain independence and a regular income. Every creation is a reflection of their cosmogony, personal and community history.

There are still places that keep alive their essence and philosophy despite of the conflicts, migrations or colonization as for example Silvia, part of Cauca region and the third of Colombia’s communities with indigenous population. Wherever you look at, there is a bag or an indigenous backpack, fancy large black hats, blue ponchos, skirts or any other clothing item, woven by misak, nasa or guambianos women. Their wide range of colours is not random, they symbolize ancient histories and a whole worldview of mountains, rivers and plants landscapes.

The recent conflict scenery governed by FARC, ELN, military or drug dealers has been replaced by the marketplace, where the only sound is the hustle and bustle of the conversations between local people, barter trades and sales, the transport of the merchandise, etc.

There are plenty of ethnic groups living together and sharing their traditions, products and resources, but there is also a time of change even in the most faraway land. Part of the population emigrates to the cities with different purposes, searching for a better paid job or for an university career. Preserving local cultivations is increasingly difficult for local people who still remain at home.

María Jacinta Cuchillo Tunubalá, a guambiano weaving artisan is a witness of all negative and positive changes. She works together with other craftswomen in La Casa del Agua, also called “The Paradise”, the old residence of the famous drug dealer, Rodríguez Orejuela. The basketry workshops have turned into a way of living and regular income for all the envolved women. The project, called EnRedArte con Identidad and backed up by ONG Codespa, not only helps these women to strenghten their self-confidence and ensures them a regular income, but it offers them another perspective about their work by participating into exhibitions and help them become more competitive.

These workshops join together women of all ages, from five different communities. They apply their traditional techniques, search for new colours of dyes, patterns and fibres, while learning about their rights and obligations, self-confidence and their role in the family.

Some of these families have no electricity or running water, but they own a rich culture with a whole universe of symbols and an outstanding know-how of the weaving tradition. On Guambianos territory, where the two lagoons come into one, the great world news on the radio are mixed with people’s usual conversations about relationships, the colour of the woven items and the daily tasks. For these artisan women, full of creativity, white keep symbolizing peace, red means blood and blue is water.

In 2012, PET Lamp project have started its journey to the heart of Cauca region where several Guambiano artisan women belonging to families displaced by guerrilla war added shape and colour to the lamps designed by Alvaro Catalan de Ocon. In their wool and cotton weaving they reflected the character and symbolism of their country and culture. We can still remember the Colombian sky reflected in the blue colour of the woven lampshades.

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More info and source: El País

How can we reuse plastic waste? El País

Most of Earth population achieves its daily tasks surrounded by plastic items, as a proof of the universality of this material. There are already different innovative alternatives based on plastic reuse and recyling processes which allow to use it in new fields and with new purposes.

Plastic use has dramatically increased in the last 50 years. Beatriz Meunier of PlasticsEurope Association affirms that plastic reuse could make a great difference regarding resource savings and she emphasizes plastic waste value.

Urban places are the main scenaries for future plastic reuse, but it could also be employed in fashion, energetic, packaging, street furniture and medicine field.

Zicla Plastics business is already developing urban projects which use recycled plastic in rail separators or innovative bus stops. They use a special “recipy” by combining different types of recycled plastic, offering more or less strength, depending on the outside temperature changes.

Functional polyvalence of plastic is quite limited and recycling must be done separately. PET will be PET, however, several of them can turn into a polar lining too. Mechanical properties and quality are lost when recycling, but there are infinite second lives for this material.

Thanks to its characteristics and durability, plastic offers a wide range of possibilities regarding its use. This is how PET Lamp project was conceived, benefiting from PET flexibility and transparency in order to combine it with worldwide weaving tradition.

More info and source: El País

The Australian aborigines are the most ancient living human beings El País

The greatest genetic study of the human communities proves that the Australians come from one of the first African migrations.

Most genomic studies have omitted a research of Australian people so far. The recent interpretation of 83 Australian aborigines and 25 locals from Papua New Guinea has revealed that first African migrations traveled towards the Australian continent, a fact that turns them into the most ancient living people on Earth.

There are fundamental questions to understand our origins, such as: How many times did African natives leave their origin continent? or When did all these migrations occur? Eske Willerslev, the project head, from Copenhagen University reveals the fascinating great diversity of Australian natives.

The migrations produced 60.000 years ago, when Australia and Papua New Guinea were one single territory. Later rising sea level prevented them from migrating and mixing each other which lead to a complete genetic separation of the two communities.

Researchers from 35 countries, including Spain, presented four great genomic investigations with different conclusions, but all of them coincide that our origins are settled in Africa. One of the great revelations is that human population started to diverge 200.000 years ago and that there is still a little evidence of the first humans in our DNA.

Once we left Africa continent, the genetic mutation has accelerated, since time gap between generations has reduced.

In 2016, PET Lamp had the opportunity to travel to the heart of Australian indigenous communities and approach their culture, ancient traditions and magnificent cosmogony. Now that we know that we worked with the most ancient living humans, we see our project through different eyes.

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More info and source: El País

8 Million metric tones of plastic enter the oceans per year University of Georgia

Plastic has gone into the ocean directly or indirectly for decades, but there was no way to quantify the waste amount. Recently Experts from the University of Georgia and National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis have found the method to calculate the magnitude of plastic waste that the 192 costal countries throw to the ocean every year.

All kind of garbage is carried along estuaries, seashores or rivers to our seas. Wind and uncontrolled landfills also contribute to the spread of debris. The estimation was done in the 192 coastal countries which totally generated 275 million metric tons of plastic waste.

Not only does the framework calculate plastic inputs into the ocean but it analyzes waste streams of each country which could be adapted and reused in some other projects.

The issue of plastic contamination have occured in a relatively short time. This material has been incorporated to our daily use in the 1930s and ‘40s and it was not until 1970 when first unstructured landfills have been created.

Some of the 192 coastal countries have to fight the lack of clean drinking water and to implement a correct sewage treatment yet, since these are urgent threats against their population. Formal waste management systems are not within the reach of all countries and paradoxically, those with a higher gross national income have drastically increased the plastic resin production.

The amount of plastic waste generated by each person every day is overwhelming. Researchers hope that these estimated numbers determine more people to mitigate strategies like improving global solid management. Creative projects as PET Lamp have recently come up in order to approach this global issue, but there is still needed a worldwide strategy so plastic waste stop going into our seas.

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More info and source: University of Georgia

By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans The Washington Post

Floating plastic waste patches are increasingly invading our seas and oceans. The oceans ecosystems and other industries, such as tourism, shipping and fishing are permanently threatened by the uncontrolled plastic misuse and the lack of recollection programs.

Garbage is washed up by the wind or rivers until the most remote islands in the middle of the ocean and transported back on land, accidentally. A handful of studies prove that all kind of plastic items have wound up in the world’s sea turtles, marine birds and numerous species of fish.

The critical point of this phenomenon is expected to occur by the middle of the century, when the predicted rates of employed plastic staff are three times higher than in 2014.

The report published by the nonprofit foundation World Economic Forum is a warning signal against the plastic waste amount of 8 million metric tons which randomnly runs across the world every year. The report also provides the estimated percentages of the different usages of plastic, such as: carbon budget, oil consumption, soda bottles, plastic grocery bags, etc. Unfortunately, the 70% of the plastic we produce is either put in a landfill or lost to the world’s waterways and other infrastructure.

There is still a drop of hope since our seas and oceans are more productive that we thought. We might be able to stop or reduce the current damaging impacts by implementing plastic waste recollection programmes, improving infrastructure, using more efficient packagings and turning to the reusage of plastic.

This last aspect converted into the philosophy of PET Lamp which enriches the PET bottle, as a simple item with a short lifespan, by applying local weaving techniques to it, resulting in contemporaneous and desirable design objects for the market.

This article has inspired our annual PET Lamp newspaper, since the whole project is basically the response to the overcome negative impacts of our environment and a reinterpretation of plastic waste.

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More info and source: The Washington Post