Oceans choking on plastic, but there is a solution

An innovative Dutch-backed exhibition in Shanghai highlights the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean and shows innovative solutions.
Chen Huizhi / SHINE

The baby stroller has all its parts made from recycled plastic except for the metal bearings and mechanical springs.

Earlier this week, two men in southern Norway fished out a skinny cod with part of a 1.5-liter plastic bottle in its stomach. It was the latest of many alarming signs about the amount of plastic in our oceans.

Hundreds of millions of tons of plastic are floating in the world’s oceans. Environmentalists say some masses are the size of entire countries.

Highlighting the increasing concern and awareness about plastic pollution — and showing alternatives — is an exhibition at Shanghai Xintiandi where visitors can see innovative products made from plastic and create their own. 

The exhibition, organized by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Shanghai, runs through April 26.

There is a baby stroller which has all its parts made from recycled plastic except for the metal bearings and mechanical springs.

The stroller has only 28 parts in total, while others usually have a few hundred. The stroller on display is easily recyclable and meets European quality standards.

There are also socks made from fishing nets. Two NGOs and businesses started an initiative in 2013 to work with local fishermen to clean up marine garbage. Discarded or used nets are turned into plastic particles first and then mixed with other waste to produce a kind of recycled yarn.

The exhibition shows that recycled plastic is more versatile than you have imagined — they can be made into anything from clothing to sofa coverings and wallpaper.

From 2pm to 5pm on Saturdays, visitors to the exhibition will be given an opportunity to “upcycle” their own plastic into household items.

This interactive event is organized by Precious Plastic Shanghai, an open source project launched by Dutch designer Dave Hakkens in 2013, which has drawn followers from many parts of the world to make use of plastic waste through DIY workshops.

Visitors can ride a plastic shredder bike and create their own plastic wonders by simply touching buttons and pulling levers on the machines, under the safe supervision of staff.

Exhibition details

Date: Through April 26
Venue: Hubindao Xintiandi
Address: B2, 150 Hubin Rd

Chen Huizhi / SHINE
Chen Huizhi / SHINE
Special Reports