During the Plastic Free Ocean Accelerator, WWF and Impact Hub Amsterdam joined forces to support seven innovative startups that develop solutions to reduce plastic pollution and the leakage of plastic into the ocean. One of these was vanPlestik. Find out how they plan to reuse plastic waste worldwide!

3D printing flower pots, bins & furniture from plastic waste

“We create design objects from recycled plastic waste with our large, custom-built 3D printer. Before building it, we visited many recycling companies and found out that a huge amount of plastic is being burned instead of recycled because it’s hard to separate into components small enough to fit into a typical 3D printer. That’s when it hit us: smaller plastics wouldn’t get stuck in a printer with a bigger nozzle! With our own printer, we repurposed nearly 2,000 kg of plastic waste – from festival tokens to bottle caps and coat hangers – into flower pots, tables and chairs available at The Maker Store in Amsterdam, bins for the City of Amsterdam, and an art installation for National Geographic.”

Finding focus in the Plastic Free Ocean Accelerator

During the Plastic Free Ocean (PFO) accelerator we wanted to find more focus in our business. We got useful feedback from fellow entrepreneurs, and also attended strategy sessions that gave us the confidence and practical insights we needed to validate ideas that had been simmering for a while. On one side, we will keep developing our own designs for consumers and companies. The latter involves looking at the client’s plastic waste streams to see which materials we can source to 3D print useful objects. And on the other, we will continue to collaborate with artists and other organisations on one-off objects that raise awareness of the plastic problem.”

Closing plastic loops to boost local economies

“We developed a book case for a global furniture producer to showcase the possibilities of 3D printing with recycled plastic. If two guys with a startup can do it, they should be able to do it, too! Ultimately, we want to help solve the plastic issue worldwide by contributing to the rise of new local industries. Many rural areas in emerging markets don’t have recycling facilities or regulated waste collection. With our 3D printers we could close the plastic loops and enable reuse at the source, which can boost local economies and prevent plastic pollution.”

Want to hear more about vanPlestik? Join the Week of the Circular Economy Kickoff on 14 January for pitches by them and other Plastic Free Ocean Accelerator startups!