Paulo Gomes, visiting professor from the Federal University of Bahia (Brazil), has manufactured a bar with recycled plastics that could be an alternative to the use of wood. And it is doing so with low-cost technologies that are accessible to all.
"Plastic is like a natural resource, like a tree, it is everywhere," says Paulo Gomes. His idea is that recycled plastic is an alternative to the use of wood. This professor from the Federal University of Bahia, who will be a visiting professor at the UNESCO Sustainability Chair of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia during all 2018, carries out a project that consists of reusing plastic waste with low-cost materials, that is, with accessible technologies for all.
Gomes develops this project in collaboration with the Ateneo de Fabricació La Fábrica del Sol, a space dedicated to sustainable digital manufacturing where we work to recycle waste on a local scale, with the aim of giving a second life to these materials and creating products with them for our day to day. At the Ateneo, Gomes has created a bar with recycled plastics from boxes of butter and bottles, which could replace items commonly made with wood or steel such as furniture and fences.
His project is inspired by Precious Plastics, a community where people from all over the world work to reuse the plastics that currently accumulate and pollute seas and oceans. But since the designs they create in the Preciosus Plastic community are not affordable for everyone due to their high price and technological complexity, Gomes aims to make a project of this kind with low-cost technologies, that is, to create prototypes of machines easy to design and with materials available to everyone.
The United Nations (UN) warns that in 2050 there will be more plastics than fish in the sea. Projects such as that of Paulo Gomes would allow reusing this plastic to avoid it. "You have to have examples so that people see what is possible, and create prototypes so that any citizen can make the designs and reuse the plastic," says Gomes.