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LOCUS transforms plastic waste into functional products with ‘Los Colados’
‘Los Colados’ by LOCUS
Image: Armando Juárez

LOCUS transforms plastic waste into functional products with ‘Los Colados’

LOCUS highlights the urgent need to reevaluate the use of raw materials due to resource scarcity to address environmental challenges and promote recycling plastic.

by Ria Jha
Published on : Mar 14, 2024

Irrespective of their origin or nature, natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce in the present day. Rapid changes in the economy, society, and climate force us to reevaluate how we make use of raw materials. One of the most widely used materials in the world, concrete presents a serious environmental risk in light of climate change. It is a significant source of pollution resulting from the immense amount of sand extraction approximately 6 billion tonnes annually and greenhouse gas emissions during its production which account for 7% of world CO2 emissions. This emphasises the imperative to redefine the uses of concrete and explore alternative materials that can be recycled, thereby alleviating the depletion of natural resources.

Plastic waste, often regarded as a looming environmental crisis, possesses dual potentialities as both a future source of refuse and a reservoir of materials that can be utilised. Sustainability-driven modern recycling techniques enable plastic waste to be converted into a useful feedstock for the creation of new goods. Moreover, upcycling initiatives recycle plastics into more valuable products, lowering the need for natural resources and minimising the negative effects on the environment. Drawing inspiration from the eco-friendly application of plastic waste in product design, Mexico-based studio LOCUS co-founded by Swiss-born architect Jachen Schleich and Tunisian-born architect Sana Frini both based in 9 Mexico City created Los Colados a sink design made from recycled plastic waste.

The idea for Los Colados originated from the product designers' concern about rapid manufacturing and non-recirculating processes, which led to an ongoing review of the reuse of plastic waste. The upcycled design is made up of computer casings, plastic bottles, plates, refrigerator parts, and other objects that were intended to be transformational raw materials. The process of designing this sink started with a careful examination and inventory of the local materials. The creators gathered broken bottles and phone chips, ingeniously mixing the crushed plastic with the concrete. This creative method reduces the amount of plastic waste and gives an alternative to extractive materials in addition to replacing common aggregates in terrazzo, such as marble or stones.

The creative use of recycled materials promotes a paradigm shift towards sustainable design practices and it addresses modern urgent environmental issues of today. Architects and designers show the transforming power of rethinking garbage as a useful resource through projects like Los Colados. By adopting such innovative solutions, we not only lessen the negative effects of pollution and resource depletion, but we also open the door to a future that is resilient and environmentally aware. We must keep researching and using alternative materials and techniques that put conservation, regeneration, and responsible stewardship of our planet's limited resources first as we negotiate the difficulties of the twenty-first century.

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