Toys from old Toys - creating an interactive space that encourages children to engage with recycled plastics

This in-house project is our starting point for showcasing how all of the discarded single-use plastic can be tackled in a way that gives them a new lease of life. We started with toys, as a way to educate and inspire children and students to make positive environmental change.

By creating “toys from old toys”, we involved students in a hands-on project that taught them about a product’s lifecycle and made the plastic and recycling process more transparent.

Different plastic materials were considered, catalogued and selected for melting. We consequently created moulds in the forms of leaves, built a conic metal structure, and finally added the leaves to form play-tents. We wanted the tents to have a quality of space, representing shelter.

Right before the Covid 19 pandemic started, we were invited to exhibit at the world’s largest lifestyle design festival, the Salone Del Mobile in Milan 2020. Despite the festival not going ahead, we managed to bring this project to life, visiting local schools instead.

Download Toys From Old Toys poster
Download Toys From Old Toys presentation

Product design
Design for manufacture

We presented a range of recycled plastic building blocks as part of London Design Week 2020.

We were amazed at the response we received from such a wide range of people that we were encouraged to keep this project going.

In 2021 we took this project on tour. We created a series of activities designed to inspire and inform secondary school students about the impact of consumer waste and our responsibility as designers.

We created 5 activity stations:

Disassembly - understanding the complexity and effort required to take toys apart

Extraction - shredding plastic material

Sorting - understanding and identifying different plastics

Moulding - filling and heating mould tools to create new parts

Concepts - designing toys to be used for longer whilst considering their end-of-life

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