How to Make Plastic Furniture from Old Toys

A Belgian manufacturer is taking recycling to a new level - by making cool plastic furniture out of old toys! The brand, Ecobirdy, has recycled thousands of plastic toys to produce furniture for kids.

The Antwerp-based company has created its unique range of colourful furniture for children with the aim of raising awareness of sustainability from a young age. All of the items in Ecobirdy's debut collection are created from old plastic toys and are 100% recyclable.

Debut collection

The brand made its debut at the 2018 Maison & Objet furniture fair, adopting a novel slant on the collection by giving the pieces human names. The lightweight chair with rounded legs and edges was called Charlie and the accompanying table was called Luisa!

As well as the valuable recycling message, Ecobirdy makes other pieces with different environmental messages, such as a bird-shaped, brightly-coloured storage container. This was created to raise awareness of the endangered Kiwi bird of New Zealand.

Another unusual item is the rhino-shaped lamp, which highlights the plight of another endangered species, the rhino, which is falling victim to cruel poachers. Its horn is in great demand for use in old, traditional, Chinese medicines.

Extensive research

Ecobirdy released its debut collection following two years' research into recycling plastic toys. The brand is co-funded by the EU programme, COSME, which helps small and medium-sized businesses to access finance to help them to progress and grow.

Founders, Vanessa Yuan and Joris Vanbriel, said that plastic toys used plastic "more intensively" than many other consumer goods. They decided to try to give plastic a new life to "free our ecosystem" from the impact of carelessly-discarded plastics.

They say that in Europe, 24 million tonnes of plastic waste is produced every year - and sadly, most of it isn't recycled. Statistics show only 5% of new plastic products in Europe are made from recycled plastic, while a massive 90% of the most popular toys are made from plastic, such as polypropylene and polyethylene.

Processing system

The beauty of Ecobirdy's new and innovative technology is that there isn't any need to add resin or pigments to the recycled plastic material used to make the furniture.

As part of its processes, the brand has arranged a system to collect and recycle old and unused toys. The production of the furniture is carried out using fair business practices in Europe. The plastic is free from any harmful chemicals - the precise sorting and cleaning process makes sure of this.

The debut collection was produced in Italy, where manual labour played a large role in the manufacturing process, alongside machinery.

Educating children

To further educate children about sustainability, a storybook accompanies the furniture, while a schools' programme has been created to introduce pupils to minimising the use of resources and using sustainable materials.

Ecobirdy aims to recycle 250,000kg of plastic toys. It says 80% of toys are currently dumped in landfill sites. Statistics show a new toy is used for an average of only six months, so there's no shortage of discarded plastic toys for recycling!

A toy kitchen on average contains 5.6kg of recyclable plastic, the equivalent of 400 plastic bottles. A toddler's plastic bicycle contains the equivalent of 150 plastic bottles.

As toys are made from a mixture of different materials, usually they are deemed to be general waste and end up at landfills. Not every site will recycle the types of hard plastic used to make toys. Ecobirdy employs a stringent sorting process to ensure only the purest of plastic, which is 100% safe, gets through.

The kids' furniture market has expanded in recent years. Children's furniture and toys have even dominated Milan Design Week in Italy, where new and innovative designs are showcased. It is a massive market, with huge potential for the future.

Solent Plastics is a responsible and environmentally-aware supplier, offering a quality range of plastic storage solutions that will last for many years.

For further details of our products - including those made from recycled plastic - call 01794 514478 today.