Plastic in the world’s oceans is far reaching and collecting exponentially. Studio Swine refers to this debris as a “plastic soup”; an excellent analogy considering that 46,000 pieces of plastic occupy every square kilometer of the world’s oceans. Most of this is concentrated in the Pacific. Perhaps the infamous “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” comes to mind.
Plastic is broken down by UV light over thousands of years, but is not dissolved back into the environment; merely broken down into smaller and smaller pieces. These pieces absorb hydrophobic chemicals including pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic pollutants. The plastic ultimately becomes the size of plankton. Plankton (and other particles of similar size) are ingested by fish. Any residual toxins are absorbed into the fatty tissue of fish. These toxins transcend throughout the food chain thus elevating the toxicity of marine life and any other species that consume the fish. Samples taken from the Pacific Ocean surmise an approximate 6 pounds of plastic to 1 pound of plankton.
Studio Swine designed a “floating factory ship” to trawl for and recycle plastic waste. Andrew Friend partnered with the project to create a new solar- powered plastic extruder to melt plastic anywhere. Debris caught in nets is put into an extruder to be made into filament. This filament is then used to print 3D objects; furniture, in this case. Why furniture? Once upon a time seamen were required to possess carpentry skills to fix things aboard a wooden ship at sea. Sailors would collect wood to make into furniture products to sell at port as a hobby or for supplemental income. The Sea Chair is a nod to this tradition that would pave a revival of furniture made by sailors. The EU is currently creating a program that will pay fisherman for plastics-by-catch. Studio Swine envisions transforming oil rigs into devices that collect and recycle waste into fuel and/or reusable materials. The project is still collecting funds on Kickstarter, as both the seafaring and design communities look eagerly to the future. The concept of the Sea Chair serves as yet another solution to a large-scale problem solved by 3D printing!
“Sea Chair Info.” Sea Chair Info. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.
“Solar-Powered 3D Printer to Turn Ocean’s Plastic Garbage into Furniture Is on Kickstarter.”Inside 3D Printing. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Sept. 2014.