A design student from London is turning shredded plastic bags into skateboards using a heated pressing machine in a bid to keep them out of landfill. Matthew Stock reports.
How many plastic bags does it take to make a skateboard? About 1500, according to designer Jason Knight. He's built this metal press as an ingenious solution to the scourge of waste plastic. It melts and moulds plastic into skateboard decks. SOUNDBITE (English) JASON KNIGHT, INDUSTRIAL DESIGN STUDENT AT BRUNEL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "I thought if people have a tangible reward like a skateboard or something physical that they immediately get in a reward for recycling it would incentivise people to do so." He hopes local communities will take up the idea; encouraging young people to collect discarded plastic in exchange for use of a machine like his. SOUNDBITE (English) JASON KNIGHT, INDUSTRIAL DESIGN STUDENT AT BRUNEL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "You take the shredded material, you load it into the mould.... the base of the mould heats up to about 200 degrees (Celsius).... it takes between an hour and two hours to melt and then you just leave it to set - it takes about three hours to set - and then you take it out and finish it with grip tape and sanding the edges." What's left is a strong but flexible board, each with a unique marbled look. Knight himself is not a skateboarder. But at a skatepark on London's Southbank, there was great interest. SOUNDBITE (English) JASON KNIGHT, INDUSTRIAL DESIGN STUDENT AT BRUNEL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "People really like the idea, no one's seen anything like it before. They like the flexibility, it means you can jump higher because of, they call it the 'pop', because of the 'pop' you can jump quite high because it's got quite an elastic property. So it allows you to jump really high easily." Knight is now looking to improve his design and plans to offer his method as an online tutorial. Plastic waste clogs up landfill sites and pollutes our oceans. While their impact would be small, in their own small way skateboarders could help reduce a growing environmental problem.