Trash to Art: Origins is the name of a decorative material that offers fantastic visual stimulation. It was first introduced to the design marketplace in the late 1980s. It achieves its punch by acknowledging its origins, which are colorful post-consumer detergent and shampoo bottles. The material elevates recycling to an art form. Unlike plastic laminate products whose printed patterns are repeated, the randomness of this material’s color at the surface is real and unique. With the penetration of color all the way through the material, design and fabrication advantages become available. It is a completely safe, non-toxic material that causes no harm to the environment during its manufacture or use and it helps to minimize waste.
Refinement: The commercial production of Origins is an involved process. Plastic bottles must be sourced and then sorted by resin type and color. The bottles are shredded into pieces about the size of cornflakes. The flakes are then washed in hot water to remove contaminates such as soap, milk and labels and then thoroughly dried. By isolating the individual colors during this feed stock preparation process, a wide variety of color pattern customization is possible. An additional process melts the flakes and forms the molten resin into pellets of a single color.
Compression Molding Individual colors of flakes or pellets are carefully blended into specific repeatable color formulas. A measured amount of the blend is spread into a mold, which is then moved into a special oven and heated until the plastic becomes molten. Pressure is then applied and this causes the randomly distributed colors of flakes or pellets to move in fascinating ways, as they permanently bond together. Conversely, the processes of injection molding and extrusion are unable to match this technique because they require the molten resin to be homogenized before it is given a shape, resulting in a single color product. Origins can also be made into a single color panel using pellets of a single color.
Another benfit of compression molding is that the production batch size can be quite small. The other panel process, sheet extrusion, requires much larger batch sizes, often leaving the designer to chose from sheet that has already been run to inventory, often with little choice in color, panel size or gauge.
Color Inspires: One of the best things about Origins is that it offers an aesthetic response to recycling that is not dull and dutiful but rather colorful, joyous and in many ways, superior to its competitors. Given that most plastic items are only one color, this material has a future in many as yet untapped applications. Origins is a serious decorative material made from recycled plastic. By making a recycled material look and feel desirable, the material takes a step forward, changing the use of recycled materials from a cause to a common place.
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