The Story of Plastic exhibition illustrates the journey of plastic from waste to new products

Published: 1.12.2021 5.33Updated: 1.12.2021 11.11
Signs depicting the various phases of plastic recycling. In front of the signs are placed glass containers containing plastic in various phases starting with plastic waste, continuing with shredded plastic and ending with new material processed from the shreds.

The exhibition, which was just opened, sheds light on how the mounting flow of plastic waste we generate can be processed to make sustainable, low-carbon products.

The Story of Plastic exhibition on recycling plastic to make new material was opened in Nature House Villa Elfvik today. “We made the space look like an art exhibition, which was a way of creating contrast with the theme of plastic waste and elevating discarded plastic from waste to raw material,” say LAB University of Applied Sciences design students Heidi Ahola and Netta Kandelin, who designed the visual execution of the exhibition. They have seen all of the phases of plastic processing in the past summer and autumn from plastic waste to material processing and the design of new products. These phases have been incorporated into the exhibition to allow the visitors to learn more about the journey plastic makes from the waste bin to the store shelf. Products designed from recycled plastic by Heidi Ahola and Netta Kandelin are on display in the exhibition. Next, prototypes of the products will be 3D printed and the finished products will be placed in the Kera area next summer.

The Story of Plastic uses plastic waste from schools in Espoo

In The Story of Plastic – From Waste to Product project plastic waste is being collected from schools in Espoo. Olarin koulu and Ruusutorpan koulu schools act as pilot schools for the project and their pupils get to learn about the topic throughout the project. Plastic waste is studied and processed in the plastic laboratory of the LAB University of Applied Sciences in Lahti. Recycled plastic will be used to make outdoor furniture in particular as well as other items intended for the urban environment. These items are manufactured from recycled plastic using 3D printing.

The exhibition will provide insight into the journey of plastic as a material: the good features along with the bad. “The exhibition is a way of informing people in an interesting and approachable way about recycling plastic,” says Mia Johansson, the Project Manager of the ‘Story of Plastic – From Waste to Product’ project at the City of Espoo.

The Story of Plastic exhibition will go on tour. “The exhibition can first be seen at Nature House Villa Elfvik, after which it will move on to the LUJA gallery in Lahti in late January. We are currently scheduling exhibition destinations for spring, and we welcome any ideas,” Mia Johansson says. In addition to the physical exhibition, the Story of Plastic will also be made into an online exhibition next year, allowing people from all over Finland to examine the phases of plastic recycling.


The Story of Plastic exhibition at Nature House Villa Elfvik 1 December 2021–23 January 2022.


The Story of Plastic – From Waste to Product is a joint project by the City of Espoo and the LAB University of Applied Sciences, and it has received funding from the Ministry of the Environment’s support programme for the Plastics Roadmap trial and pilot projects. The project started at the beginning of 2021 and will continue until the end of September 2022.

Mia Johansson

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