We are excited to share the work some Industrial Design students from Virginia Tech on products made from recycled #5 plastic. Ryan Conklin, collected a big load of the #5 plastic we collected at our recycling event last week for his project. He will be shredding melting, molding and machining the plastic to create the frame for a solar camping lantern. The lantern is intended for use on backpacking trips, so it is light, independent of electrical power, and can stand or hang to illuminate a camping area. This is a perfect example of closing the loop on our waste stream and reducing energy consumption and pollution by reusing existing plastics rather than producing new material.
Of course, this does not change the fact that we should be making every effort to reduce our plastic use. But these two efforts need to work in partnership: we can use less plastic, and make sure that what we do use does not end up in the landfill but is reused.
Ryan, and others like him, are our hope to find a way to reduce our waste stream and to be creative and thoughtful in our use of our resources.