October 5, 2012 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
As part of a local recycling project, Barcelona, Spain industrial designer Fabian Andino of Espaibuenrollo reclaimed colorful but otherwise un-reusable and non-disposable PVC pipes, upcycling them into portable planters that can hang on walls or rest on specially-designed racks.
Although good looking, TUBI planters are made from PVC, which can leach over time and would not be usable for growing food. Of all the plastics, PVC plastic or vinyl is the most environmentally damaging. Despite worldwide efforts to ban the production of PVC products, because of their chlorine content existing products with PVC cannot be landfilled or burned. Burning releases an acidic gas along with dioxins, and if landfilled, PVC eventually releases additives which can poison groundwater supplies.
Most of the collected PVC waste, like these pipes, is ‘downcycled’ or used to manufacture products like garden benches and highway sound barriers–or as this recycling project aims to do–planters.
I do applaud the TUBI project, however, for its attempt to recycle these existing plastics and while also discouraging the production of new hazardous materials.
What do you think?