Sector: New materials and products from recycled materials
Plus: Furniture and designer objects for children made with recycled plastic waste
Characteristics: Old toys and other plastic items are collected, sorted, ground, selected and checked to create furniture and designer collections for children, raising their awareness on the issue of plastic waste and its recycling
ecoBirdy is a Belgian startup that creates furniture objects for children from recycled plastic. It all started when designers Vanessa Yuan and Joris Vanbriel became aware that children’s toys use more plastic than other consumer goods – the quantity of plastic in a single toy can amount to that of 500 plastic bottle caps – and have an average lifespan of only six months.
In 2018, after an in-depth study on sustainable recycling of plastic toys that lasted about two years, the two founders developed a new material: ecothylene, made with 100% recycled plastic and completely recyclable, and used to create new products with no need to add colours or other chemicals.
The two Antwerp-based designers of ecoBirdy, besides designing the collection, also created a whole system ranging from the collection of old and broken plastic toys to recycling, grinding, precision selection and laboratory quality control, that lead to the production of furnishing items.
ecoBirdy has also developed a school programme both for collecting old and damaged plastic toys, and making children aware and encouraging them to help create a more sustainable future, also through the publication of Journey to a New Life, a book telling the story of a plastic moped and its toy friends.
For its first collection of furnishing items, including a table, a chair, a container for objects and a lamp, ecoBirdy collaborated with Van Werven, its Dutch partner with branches all over Europe, for the recycling of plastic, whereas the final printing of products is carried out in Italy.