The RISD Waste for Life Studio (2009)

Image Credit: Emily Steffian

At RISD, David Zitnick led an Industrial Design Studio in the Fall of 2009 to build a Kingston Press and develop product prototypes.


The Kingston Press

Image Credit: Darko Matovic

In June 2007, students and faculty at Queens University developed an inexpensive prototype Kingston “hot-press” to bond the paper and plastic together. Based on the prototype they shared plans and models with the collectives in Buenos Aires to produce their own presses

Why Plastic Bags?

The plastic shopping bag is ubiquitous. Approximately 1 billion bags are given out each day. The vast majority of these bags are used once and disposed of – harming wildlife, accumulating in landfills, and creating blight.

What is Waste for Life?

In 2003, a year after the collapse of the Argentine economy between 30,000 and 40,000 people made their living on the streets of Buenos Aires by collecting trash. Three years later, well established cartonero (trash picking) collectives had successfully lobbied the government to legalize their trash collection, enforce curbside source separation to aid recycling, and provide childcare for the collectives. But income for the cartoneros was still dependent on the commodity value of recyclables. At the request of a number of collectives in 2006, a team of engineers from Queens University Ontario began experimenting with plastic bags to create a more reliable source of income for the cartoneros. In 2007 they helped build two “Kingston Presses” in Buenos Aires that bond plastics and fiberous materials to create new composite sheet materials. The presses are currently being tested by the Center for Experimental Production at the University of Buenos Aires.

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