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Beating Plastic Pollution in Interior Design

Happy World Environment Day!

Let's talk about the fascinating world of interior design and its connection to our precious environment. As we gear up to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th, this year's theme is all about plastic pollution.

We all know plastics are as versatile as that one friend who can juggle, sing, and bake a chocolate cake all at once. They can be moulded, extruded, or cast into any shape you desire, from films to textile fibres.

But here's the kicker: they're not environmentally-friendly. Did you know that once plastic items have served their purpose, 79% of them end up in landfills or floating around in our beautiful environment for thousands of years? But as we become more aware of the environmental harm caused by plastic, we are making progress. There are non-fossil alternatives in the works, aiming to meet the growing demand for plastics in a more sustainable way. So let's dig in and learn about the popular types of plastic and their potential substitutes.

First up, we have PET, a strong yet lightweight thermoplastic. It can be transformed into single-use bottles, food packaging films, or spun into polyester fabric. Not only is PET widely used in interior design for its translucent finish, but it's also the rockstar of recycling. making it the most recycled plastic out there. Imagine turning 111 Coke bottles into 111 Navy Chair

111 Navy Chair by Emeco

Next, let's take a look at acrylic, the jack-of-all-trades in the plastic family. Acrylic resins can be used to create paint, spun into fibres for clothing, or cast into plexiglass sheets. This versatile material has been saving the day since World War II, providing shatter-resistant alternatives to glass. At this point, we can't forget about London Sky Pool, which Architectural Digest has dubbed "the world's largest single piece of load-bearing acrylic".

Embassy Gardens, London

Moving on, we meet acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), a hard thermoplastic that's stronger than concrete. ABS is known for its durability and flexibility, making it the go-to material for those iconic Lego bricks. I mean, who doesn't love building towering plastic masterpieces?

Last but certainly not least, we have polypropylene (PP), derived from propylene gas, which is a by-product of refining gasoline. Polypropylene is the tough cookie of the plastic world, commonly used to create kids' toys and outdoor furniture due to its durability. Designers have even moulded it into monobloc chairs, resulting in some seriously chic and sturdy seating options. Famous Mid-Century Modern Verner Panton's Panton chair and the Bell Chair by Konstantin Grcic for Magis are just a taste of what polypropylene can achieve.

As our planet braces for the impact of pollution, architects and designers are stepping up their game by finding creative ways to reduce the use of virgin plastics. Enter recycled plastic sunglasses and trainers, along with bioplastics made from natural feedstocks such as corn starch and sugar cane. These eco-friendly alternatives not only help protect the environment, but also make a fashion statement.

Recycled plastic furniture, wall art, eco-friendly rugs, lighting fixtures, and accessories are just some examples of how upcycling plastic waste can add a unique touch to spaces while also reducing plastic waste and promoting a more sustainable future.

Plastic waste can be turned into colourful and durable terrazzo flooring material by mixing it with concrete or epoxy resin.

Terrazzo dining by GoSia Interiors

Eco-friendly rugs made from recycled plastic fibres are also a great option. Not only are they soft and comfortable, but they also mimic the texture and appearance of traditional textiles, making them a stylish and sustainable addition to your home decor.

So let's raise a toast to Mother Nature for inspiring us to think outside the box!

Sustainability can be stylish too!

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