Every summer, thousands of people around the world flock to a handful of Greek islands to spend their summer vacations in a Mediterranean paradise. Similar to what happens in other seasonal small towns around the globe, this influx of vacationers tests the limit of small infrastructures designed for a very small population that lives there 12 months of the year – such as waste management.

While a large amount of the plastic waste–such as PET water bottles–is collected and shipped back to a central recycling facility in Athens, a significant amount of it is still left behind and pollutes the natural environment for the native islanders once the vacationers have all flown home.

Aiming to find sustainable solutions to this growing plastic pollution problem, a week-long pop-up workshop hosted by The New Raw for professionals from the fields of industrial design, architecture, fine arts, and environmental studies came together on the Greek island of Syros to produce five different design and business concepts that made use of the discarded PET water bottles as a raw material for 3D printing.

Specifically, the group explored a circular economy solution for transforming imported plastic packaging waste on the island into a source of exported raw material – hence the name “The New Raw”:

“Our goal is to raise awareness and educate the public on the issues of waste overproduction and the potentials of digital fabrication technologies through workshops, public events and independent research,” explains co-founder Foteini Setaki. “We explore new links between collectively conducted research and hands-on experience and around a vibrant and multidisciplinary network of experts, partners, stakeholders, users and enthusiasts.”

Find out more over at The New Raw.

Author

Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.