Over the previous 40 years, the quantity of waste Singaporeans produce has elevated seven-fold, to 7.7 million tons in 2017 alone. Every single day, about 2,000 tons of waste are dumped on Pulau Semakau, a tiny island 5 miles off the southern coast of Singapore. It’s the nation’s solely landfill, and at this fee, it’ll run out of house by 2035.
For years, Singapore has been engaged on bettering its relationship with waste. Since 2003, it has been treating wastewater to create ultraclean, high-grade reclaimed water (primarily for industrial and air-conditioning functions). Now, a brand new exhibition shines a light-weight on the necessity for an analogous psychological shift for shopper waste. Known as Waste Refinery, it spotlights tasks by 20 designers who’re utilizing waste as a major materials of their work. On view by January 16, it seeks to reframe trash like plastic milk bottles, meals scraps, and discarded textiles not as undesirable supplies, however as valuable sources.
The exhibition was commissioned by DesignSingapore Council—a subsidiary of the Singapore Financial Improvement Board that sees design as a device for enterprise progress and innovation—and curated by creative design company Kinetic. Spanning trend, furnishings, artwork, craft, and materials innovation, it presents a wide selection of merchandise displayed below a cover of repurposed scaffolding that was sourced from previous building tasks.
There are biodegradable purses constructed from postindustrial waste like discarded fruit peels (by Berlin firm Sonnet155); flip-flops constructed from waste rubber and discarded previous sneakers (by Indonesian firm Indosole); leather-like textiles constructed from pineapple leaves (by Philippines-based Ananas Anam); and ping-pong rackets constructed from plastic milk bottles (by Australian industrial design studio Préssec).
It’s price noting that Singapore boasts excessive recycling charges for its industrial and building waste (98%), scrap tires (95%), and wooden (64%). That stated, supplies like plastics, textiles, glass, and ceramics aren’t recycled wherever close to as a lot (solely 4% for plastics and 11% for glass). “That’s what shoppers use probably the most,” explains Mark Wee, the manager director of DesignSingapore Council. “This can be a nice solution to illustrate for a shopper viewers how waste might be utilized in imaginative methods.”
The exhibition seeks to make an invisible downside extremely seen by offering creative options. However for world waste to be lowered in any vital approach, the tasks would must be scaled dramatically. This can be the last word purpose of the exhibition, but it surely’s one very bold, very tall order. Within the meantime, the concept is to shift views and encourage individuals to cut back their consumption within the first place, or think about methods to lengthen the life span of the merchandise they use.
For instance, the exhibition contains a collaboration between native furnishings retailer Hock Siong and Singaporean textile agency Comfortable Studio, which mended broken chairs utilizing colourful yarns, themselves salvaged from discarded textiles and different waste supplies. The repairs are very seen, and the chairs aren’t meant to be sat on once more, however the artwork challenge means that damaged objects don’t must be trashed. “Even you probably have a damaged chair it doesn’t imply it’s gone,” says Pann Lim, cofounder and creative director at Kinetic.
Waste Refinery isn’t the nation’s first waste-related creative enterprise: In January of this 12 months, one other exhibition by DesignSingapore Council, R for Restore, showcased the potential and inherent worth of repairing by matching 10 designers with 10 damaged objects in want of a second lease on life. Now, the curators are hoping that Waste Refinery will encourage shoppers to vary their habits, and companies to vary their manufacturing processes. “We’ve got to consider the stuff round us that we eat that may grow to be one thing else, not simply go to [Semakau] island,” Wee says. “That’s when design is available in.”