Sommersemester 2018 / Studentisches Start-up-Projekt
Seating arrangements made from 100% recycled plastic.
Mission & Vision
The mission of ecobench is to change the way we see plastic. Currently, plastic is considered as waste and has a bad connotation with it. We want to switch the attitude towards plastic and raise the awareness of this problem. Plastic should be seen as a valuable resource and should be used in an ecological friendly way.
Our vision is to make the world an environmentally friendlier place. The depositing and thermal recycling of plastic waste should be greatly reduced as they constitute a major burden to the future. With our new way of recycling plastic, we achieve that goal by producing long lasting seating arrangements made from 100% recycled plastic.
Currently the amount of plastic waste is too high. There are islands made of discarded bottles floating around in the Pacific, with mountains of plastic containers, bags and more on land. At the moment, only 31% of plastic waste in Europe is recycled, but 42% actually is burned, via the so-called method of “thermal recycling” and 27% get disposed on landfills. Currently, our methods of dealing with these insurmountable quantities only, truly, reuses one third of materials for the making of new products. While Austria is one of the leaders in recycling within Europe, the EU’s planned quote of 55% recycling by the year 2025 is not panning out well. The amount of garbage is too high for any city to adequately deliver on this promise. On top of that, China will in the near future forbid the import of plastic waste which is going to affect the implementation of the recycling quota, since there will be more plastic waste in Europe as a whole, increasing the need for adequate alternatives. Furthermore, the clearing of rainforests in order to produce outside furniture is a major challenge we have to solve in the future. To produce outside furniture out of high quality wood, rainforest that has grown for hundreds of years is irrecoverable destroyed.
Our solution is to use 100% recycled polyethylene and our objective moving forward is to aid the city & country in reaching its quota on properly recycled material. By taking the plastic that would have been burned in rather ecologically unfriendly ways we develop seating
arrangements, especially benches for city departments and private customers with the possibility of broadening our product range to more outside furniture. Instead of producing further waste, plastic is compounded and used to make benches designed by ecobench together with our customers to fulfil their requirements. With the city of Vienna as our initial partner we hope to be able to produce this furniture in bulk for them to place it in parks, bus stops or other public areas. By doing this we create value for the city. We assist them in reaching their EU quota, they can gain public trust and become internationally known for their environmentally conscious attitude, increasing inhabitants’ quality of life as well as tourism. Once we sucessfully implement this method fully in one city, we can branch out to new territories. Of course, once we produced our first batch of benches we could use our method to produce other kinds of benches and seating arrangements as well.
We are going to procure the raw material, recycled plastic granulates from Zentraplast Kunststoffrecycling and rent out production time from a local manufacturer, Roto Kunststoff. The use of a regional value chain will further emphasize the ecological friendly claim of ecobench. As a highly environmental friendly product, ecobench brings a huge benefit to our customers especially in times of rising importance of corporate social responsibility. The ecological image of the customer could benefit immensely from using ecobench. Furthermore because of the robust material properties ecobench is perfectly suited for outside conditions. Due to its long-life material properties maintenance is going to be cheaper compared to traditional benches. The current design is not set in stone and will likely continue to evolve as time passes to fit our needs. It is important, that the customer knows what the bench he sits on is made of. This is to provide the value of an environmentally conscious city image for the customer. A possible slogan on the bench could be: Ich bestehe zu 100% aus recyceltem Plastik.
Alexander Staub, Msc
Evgenieea Fillipova, Msc
Dipl.-Ing. Dragos-Cristian Vasilescu, BSc