Italian design and manufacturing company Ecopixel shows us how we can look at plastic differently by turning industrial and household waste into fun, colourful and unique designer products. Founded by producer Claudio Milioto and designer Jan Puylaert, the duo, guided by sustainable principles, developed a new way to reduce waste and recycle plastic to a new level.
Ecopixel is a recycled and recyclable material recognizable for its pixelated appearance. It is made from ‘raw’ plastic waste, more specifically LDPE (low-density polyethylene industrial waste) and melts at 120°C. This relatively low melting point allows shredded pieces of plastic to bond to itself serving as its own glue. It’s only melted partially, so the colour pigments don´t mix resulting in a distinctive pixelated appearance.
Ecopixel collects, separates the colours, cuts into pieces, and re-transforms what others throw away into products
A Circular Material
Not every plastic is suitable as raw material for Ecopixel. Although recycling techniques are developing, not all plastics are made alike and not all can be recycled equally. Many plastics are frequently mixed together in a way that degrades their quality and are often utilized in products that cannot be recycled further after their end of life.
A key principle of Ecopixel is to “never mix different plastic waste”. It selects and uses only LDPE from predominantly industrial waste (although they do also collect & recycle household waste). This material consists of one type of plastic and can be melted and re-melted an infinite number of times resulting in a forever circular material. By keeping plastics pure, Ecopixel promotes a “never-ending recyclability concept” and minimizes the use of new plastic.
Style & Aesthetics
Ecopixel has a distinctive pixelated appearance that is easy to recognize. Each product which is made of Ecopixel has unique colours and texture patterns which adds personality to the design. This is because each piece is created from a mixture of sorted LDPE remnants that randomly melt together in the production process. It is unrepeatable and can be highly valued by designers.
A simple twisted triangular prism forms the basis of the DELTA range stools and tables
Ecopixel has designed its own line of products showcasing the material and technique,
ranging from the Delta Line stools and tables, floor lamps and hanging lightshades, bowls, vases, champagne coolers, bathroom design, "EYE" Bluetooth speakers and a funky Bluetooth ghetto blaster.
Ecopixel has also collaborated on special projects, notably The Alex chaise lounge by Atelier Mendini. This impressive contemporary lounge with its minimalistic geometry of form features impressive 24mm pixels. This work of pointillism is now part of the permanent collection at the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands.
Reducing the mountain of plastic waste
Ecopixel has branched out into creating new materials from other categories of plastic waste, including a collaboration with Belgian firm ECO-Oh!, which transforms 30% of garbage in Belgium into useful raw materials. Trashplast is a completely new material made of 100% ecological, plastic waste bringing another exciting and new material for designers and brands to work with.
To learn more about Ecopixel, visit www.ecopixel.eu
Design for Recycled Content Ecopixel is a recycled mono-polymer plastic typology, made from 100% shredded waste material (LDPE) that melts at 120°C. Recycling a mono-polymer means the material can be melted and re-melted an infinite number of times resulting in a forever circular material. As long as a material stays "clean" it can be transformed at the exact temperature of the polymer involved and so, the material will never "burn" and deteriorate.