This post is about upcycling a material that at first glance doesn’t seem interesting. It’s used in everyday objects and thrown away in huge quantities. I’m talking about PET.
Because I’ve created several upcycle design lamps made out of plastic containers, I’m always immediately captured by the designs made out of PET bottles. In the last few years I’ve seen some pretty amazing designs using PET objects, ranging from stylish lamps to impressive sculptures.
Plastic bottles turn into PET-ART with added value
Last week I stumbled upon another stylish lighting design collection with some amazing chandeliers. The artist/designer behind these incredible creations is Czech multi-artist Veronika Richterová. She focuses mainly on PET-ART, but she also devotes her time to painting, photography and artist’s books. She produces creative upcycling programs for children and adults as well.
Since 2004 Veronika started working with PET bottles. She has made sculptures, plants, animals and lamps out of these bottles. Over the years it has grown into quite a collection. Just have a look at her website to see what I mean. The lamp designs in this post show what an incredible value can be added when upcycling a simple everyday product like a PET bottle.
Veronika also started a PET-ART museum. Why? Well, to create all those impressive designs she had to search for bottles in recycle bins. Shortly after, she found out that the assortment of plastic bottles had changed very quickly. Some of her favorite models had suddenly disappeared and others had surfaced. To many people these bottles are worthless objects that have a short life span. But to Veronika it became clear that it was necessary to preserve these bottles for the future as a testament of the time.
That’s why in 2007 she started, together with her husband Michal Cihlář, a collection with this vision. Gradually the collection developed with an unexpected variety of bottles. According to Veronika “it maps consistently the evolution of the design of plastic bottles, presents their global character as well as their local differences and points out a problem of the imitation of patterns.” The collection is constantly expanding, due to friends and supporting people, who always bring new types from around the world. At the moment, the collection contains about 3000 items from 76 countries.
Last but not least. If you’re wondering how many bottles are wasted and recycled, here are some numbers. According to WikipediA: “Petcore, the European trade association that fosters the collection and recycling of PET, reported that in Europe alone, 1.6 million tonnes of PET bottles were collected in 2011 – more than 51% of all bottles. In the United States the recycling rate for PET packaging was 31.2% in 2013”. And about plastic statistics it says on Container Recycling Institute‘s website: “Around 899 thousand tons of PET plastic bottles were recycled nationwide in 2013, but more than two times as much PET was wasted: 2 million tons.” These are stagering numbers.
Photos © Michal Cihlář
Hopefully you will have different thoughts about a simple product like a PET bottle after reading this post and visiting Veronika Richterová’s site.