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Plastic stone - Materially

Plastic Stone Tiles: waste does not exist

The Nature of Waste was born as a graduation project at the Köln International School of Design, presented by the student Enis Akiev who asked herself a series of simple but provocative questions: “What is waste?” and “Where’s the waste?

plastic stone

Plastic Stone Tiles

The concept was born from the thought that nothing is useless. Waste does not exist. I want it to be no longer seen as rubbish“, says Akiev.

Focusing on post-consumer plastic waste, Kazakh designer Akiev wants to change the perception of waste, thus increasing its value, making it accessible as an aesthetically pleasing and durable material. Akiev then developed a method for transforming disposable plastic packaging into tiles, emulating the organic process of rock formation.

Enis Akiev showed his “Plastic Stone Tiles – The Nature of Waste” project during the last week of Dutch design, which this year focused on how designers can shape a positive future for the world. In line with the theme of the international event, Akiev focuses on the design of the future by imagining our relationship with waste.

First of all, I collect household plastic waste from landfills,” said Akiev. “Then I select them by color and type of plastic before washing and drying them. Finally, I melt them, so that I can press them into a shape, cut and sand them“.

Through heat, movement and pressure – as in the formation of natural rock – they are able to obtain very similar structures,” he continued. No color or binder is added, and the patterns come from the way I stratify and create plastic foils. “

plastic stone2

Plastic Stone Tiles


The idea of ​​subjecting plastic to conditions similar to those of nature was born from Akiev’s awareness that plastic can never really be thrown away because, as he explained, “there is no way”. It simply goes somewhere else, whether it’s in landfills or in our oceans. In fact, when he started investigating what happens to the material at this stage of his life, he read a report from the Geological Society of America, which announced the discovery of a new “stone” called plastiglomerate *.

enis akiev plastic stone tiles

Plastic Stone Tiles

*The Plastiglomerate, as the rock was named, is an agglomeration of melted plastic waste mixed with sediment, fragments of volcanic lava and organic debris. Research by the University of Western Ontario led to the discovery of two types of plastiglomerates: in situ and clastic. In situ variety is rarer, the researchers explain, and is formed when “the plastic melts on the rock and is incorporated into the surface layer”. On the contrary, in the plastic plastiglomerates real rock structures are formed which incorporate shells, corals, basalt, woody debris and sand, glued together by the melted plastic. So far, the material has only been found on Kamilo beach, – one of the most polluted in the world – but scientists suspect that it may also be found in other places.

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