The Greeks sit on waste!

Posted on 30 July 2020.

In Thessaloniki, Greece, park benches are 3D-printed using the population’s plastic waste. Stylish and environmentally friendly, this urban furniture is intended to educate the population on the importance of the circular economy.

It is through the strapline ‘Print your city’ that the Dutch design studio The New Raw means to involve the population in its project co-run with Coca-Cola.

Launched in the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece, the Print Your City initiative aims to transform the population’s plastic waste into street furniture using 3D printers. Since the summer of 2018, several benches thus designed have been installed in the Greek city’s centre. 

The project's peculiarity lies in one word: participation. The city’s population is invited to participate in this local circular economy model, from start to finish.

They can even submit their design ideas for the furniture. Three thousand concepts were submitted on the Print Your City website in less than a year. Once their bench, chair, or bike rack has been designed, the population is immediately informed of how much plastic waste they need to collect to make the street furniture of their dreams. They then have to take their collection to Coca-Cola’s Zero Waste Lab in the city.

The local Coca-Cola branch then transforms the plastic bottles and packaging into raw materials for The New Raw studio’s 3D printers which bring the design to life. Ultimately, Coca-Cola and The New Raw hope to collect over four tonnes of waste for reuse in the Greek city’s centre.

Print Your City is not the only environmentally responsible initiative in the Greek city. Coca-Cola has partnered with the Thessaloniki community through the Zero Waste City programme with the goal of becoming the first zero waste city in the world. Talks in local schools, waste collection on the beach, a mobile application to improve recycling efforts ... everything is done to get the population involved in the economy of tomorrow.