Gribaudi Plytas
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Previous updates:

Update #1:

Artist duo Gribaudi Plytas have started their investigation into plastic by collecting their own waste over the last few months. They now estimate their average plastic consumption, for two people, to be around 15L/week (uncondensed). Britain currently sends most of its plastic overseas and does not track what happens to it after it has left its shores. Rarely actually recycled, it is more often discarded by being burned, buried or sent to float in the oceans.

Gribaudi Plytas started experimenting with their waste as a way of offering a second life to this material that usually becomes waste. As the starting point of their project, they have been experimenting with the malleability of the material.
Update #2:

Gribaudi Plytas have furthered their research into plastic recycling, looking at examples of people doing so across the world.

The Mumbai slum Dharavi recycles 80% of Mumbai’s solid waste, employing 250 000 people and generating 1 billion dollars a year. Like most recycling factories they recycle plastic by categorising it, shredding down each group, heating these shreds to turn them into pellets. These pellets are then sold to companies that use them to make new plastic products. What is particularly appealing about their model is that it is done locally, unlike most of the UK’s recycling.

On a different scale they discovered @realpreciousplastic through a talk by @seyi_adelekun for Precious Plastic are giving us the key to localise recycling by making available the blue prints to recycling machines they have created.

These examples and many more paint the dream picture of a world in which we can stop manufacturing new plastic and instead endlessly recycle that which is already present in our landscape.

These drawings are a visual representation of one object’s plastic journey.
Update #3:

Last month we met with the charity Les Bouchons d’Amour in Paris. They collect and recycle plastic lids of tupperwears and bottles in order to sell them to bigger recycling centres that turn them into various kind of objects like council bins.

This charity has different centres, the one we visited is based in Montreuil. Run by Francoise and Michel this location recycles 7.6 tonnes of plastic caps a year!

In 2019, 109 460 tonnes of plastic caps were collected and recycled in France by Les Bouchon d’Amour and in 9 years they recycled and sold 1 541 365 tonnes of plastic caps. 100% of their proceeds go to helping persons with disabilities.

Photos by Théophile Boutin.

Update #4:

This photograph is the beginning of a new series by Gribaudi Plytas. Going to what they call non-spaces, such as the side of a motorway pictured here, they gather the discarded plastic and form it into agglomerations. It is as though a magnet has pulled the waste together and the individual bits of plastic that could be overlooked slowly form into perceivable entities.

You can find this agglomeration at 51.521537, -0.010608.
Update #5:

Gribaudi Plytas have continued to photograph plastic waste. This past week they've been thinking about leachate which is the fluid that escapes from waste landfills, in which plastic is compressed among other junk. Rainwater seeps through the waste and absorbs the soluble compounds it contains. Plastic leaks.
Update #6:

Our project began with the acknowledgment of plastic. We used it in our studio as a making material. It became a language, on the same level as wood or steel. This in turn made us notice its presence outside, discarded everywhere we looked.

It wasn't as though we hadn't seen it before but it was suddenly wasted rather than waste.

We decided to agglomerate plastic we found discarded in non-spaces (Update #4). Spaces no one seems to care about keeping presentable, in which nature and plastic take over forming their own private dance.

This past week we have been thinking about where our agglomerations sit when compared to a bin. A bin is believed to be the first step in the discarding and, one sometimes hopes, the recycling of plastic. And yet only 9% of plastic wasted ever produced has been recycled. 12% has been incinerated and the rest, 79% is either in landfills or in the environment.

Our agglomerations are not bins, they are simply a way of seeing plastic anew, of not ignoring it, half hidden beneath the leaves but of pulling it together to be seen. Bins are the opposite, they are not an acknowledgement but a facade. The disguised entry of plastic into nature.
Update #7:

We went on an 'escape walk' along the Thames, about 40km out of London. We were finally out of the capital. The landscape morphed, concrete slowly disappearing, city aesthetic giving way to rural residential areas. Soon pavement turned to grass and sand led to water. In the distance, occasionally perched on the water, giant industrial machines. By our feet foam and algae. The dog played. We breathed. And yet after an hour, there it was. The material that might have escaped this patch of land: PLASTIC. It had been there all along, only its shape had alluded us. Not its usual figurative self, it was rather more 'natural'. Broken down and rounded by the water it floated and docked on the sand. Closer to pebble than to bottle.
Update #8:

Plastics: wasted not waste
Changing our perception of plastics.

Article available on Medium.

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