Cities are banning plastic bags, but castoff bags still remain the bane of our existence. No matter how much you try to reuse them as trash bags, pooper scoopers while walking the dog, or weaving them into sleeping mats for the homeless, the stubborn things still somehow multiply and stick around to pollute the earth. German designer Stefanie Rittler’s Streetplastic project offers a new solution: repurpose them into cool totes.
Her hand-operated “mobile foundry” transforms old plastic bags into something we’ll reuse for longer than the 20 minutes it takes to get from the store to our homes. Paradoxically, the wooden frame requires a new plastic bag to start the process. Old bags can then be inserted into the hopper attached atop the cart, where they are then manually shredded, layered, and melted onto the new bag in different configurations by using the hand-crank and lever.
A customizable tote with a bold, new design will appear at the end of the conveyor belt line. Different designs, including original work, can be achieved.
Watch how it works through this video:
Images and video via Stefanie Rittler
Thanks to the cart’s handy mobile properties, people can upcycle their plastic bags into customizable totes anywhere on the street. While the transportable foundry gives people the chance to create their own totes, it also raises environmental issues like consumerism, pollution, and recycling. While Rittler’s project is more thought of as an experiment as opposed to a scalable solution to our greater environmental problems, turning a valueless object into a keepsake to make these larger points is an noteworthy artistic concept.
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What do you think of the Streetplastic environmental project?