Public Lab Research note

Call for Submissions for Grassroots Mapping Forum#6: TRASH

by mollydanielsson | June 23, 2014 17:10 23 Jun 17:10 | #10608 | #10608

mollydanielsson was awarded the Basic Barnstar by amysoyka for their work in this research note.

In our 6th edition of Grassroots Mapping Forum we will be examining trash. We make things, we discard things, we reuse some things. Many in the Public Lab community have spent countless hours observing trash whether intentionally or not. This Forum is a place for anyone in the community to share their reflections and musings related to trash and waste.


GMF#6 will feature Mathew Lippincott's outline of detritivore designs, using abundant waste products to make scalable technology solutions. With Public Lab's kits,"We’re developing a platform on top of ubiquitous trash, using its persistent nature to escape the ephemerality of the startup culture in which we design." We will also feature an article by Pablo Rey Mazón of Spain's Basurama. Basurama explores trash, waste and reuse in all its formats and possible meanings.

We have room for several more articles and I would love to hear from you.

Let me know if you're interested by July 3rd so I can determine word lengths for everyone. Final pieces will be due to me Friday, July 25th.

GMF Wiki Page on Planning

GMF Template

GMF#6 will come out August, 2014


where is the header image from? its amazing!

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The header image is from BasuramaCrew check out more images from the Creativity Workshop "Plastic Surrealism: in the Antonio Gala, Cordoba Foundation.

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I don't know if this qualifies for a submission but - I make stuff from old plastic bags:

It first started with an art project whereby which I was in college & was going to use the letters from plastic bags in a similar fashion to how people use the letters from newspapers to make banners with slogans/phrases on them. I found out through trial and error though that it was better to cut out my own letters in the plastic and then iron them onto the backing plastic.

My technique for doing this at the time was:

  1. Collect all kinds of plastic bags - consider things like colour, thickness and size.
  2. Take an iron - set to low heat - and some sheets of shiny/greaseproof paper.
  3. With your pieces of plastic, put it in-between two sheets of the shiny paper & then slowly turn the heat up on the iron until the point that the plastic melts*.
  4. Hold your iron on and apply pressure evenly across the relevant surface area until both the pieces of plastic stick together.

*Different types of plastic melt differently and at different temperatures so it is usually a good idea to use a tester piece of plastic to test things off to start with. **Heated plastic can sometimes give off toxic fumes so it is best to do this either in a well ventilated area & to try not to let the iron/plastic get too hot.

Since those days, I often resort to melting together old plastic bags at times when it is needed. Things that I have made to this date have been: -Making curtains from plastic bags to insulate my home with. -Making in-soles from plastic bags to stop my feet from getting wet. -Making canopies from plastic bags to keep the rain off of stuff.

There are many more possibilities out there - it just depends on how much time your willing to take making things with this method.

Also, I find that of the best things about this is - there is so much plastic thrown away as old packaging by warehouses that large sheets of the stuff is easily abundant in supply. At some point I intend on decorating my transparent bedding bubble-wrap curtains with some pieces of coloured plastic at some future date.

Until then though, I just keep hoarding those old plastic bags - even the ones with holes have potential to be made useful.

Here is an image of the bench where I carry out my craft:

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