Rethinking Plastic

The REFLOW Vejle exhibitions

The pilot in Vejle is exploring innovative circular initiatives to make plastic a resource rather than waste – more specifically, work is being done to reduce consumption and increase the recycling of plastic. The work is based on a number of local test sites in the western part of Vejle. The pilot has worked with a human and design-oriented process, where prototypes have been developed and tested. To ensure a broader involvement of citizens, the pilot has worked with a number of exhibitions that make the complex project more perceptible, visual and tangible. The exhibitions can both contribute to an in-depth insight into the pilot’s work at the individual test sites and showcase new innovative ways to use plastic. In addition, the exhibitions also aim to increase awareness of the handling of plastic among citizens. 

The purpose of the exhibitions is directly related to the REFLOW EU project’s overall vision of developing circular cities in co-creation with local actors, citizens, organizations and public institutions. The exhibitions are co-created by a wide range of stakeholders – Artist Maria Viftrup, the Innovation Team in Spinderihallerne Vejle Municipality, The Southern Danish business college (SDE), FabLab, designers, Waste Management Vejle, entrepreneurs and SMEs, Aage Vestergaard Larsen, Danish Design Center and many more. 


A world of plastic 

On 24 November 2020, the Vejle pilot opened their first exhibition called “Rethinking Plastic” Spinderihallerne Vejle. Spinderihallerne is a local innovation environment in the Municipality of Vejle, from where the pilot performs their daily work. The exhibition was part of the many solutions the pilot has worked on. The solution around the exhibition was intended to convey the project’s newly discovered potentials for the future of the plastic. The exhibition demonstrated the pilot’s work so far. Here, the individual local test sites and insights from the initial studies were presented. 

The exhibition showcased a wide range of different aspects of the theme; both art, industry, entrepreneurship, materials and knowledge about waste. The aim was to make the complexity of the theme more simple, concrete and relatable – but still show the full range. 


Plastic in a new context 

To showcase plastic as a resource with a myriad of possibilities, the pilot not only worked to involve and engage stakeholders, they also worked to showcase plastic in a whole new context. For example, the artist Maria Viftrup had developed a number of art pieces based on collected plastic waste in Vejle. The plastic was collected, washed, sorted and made into sculptures. With that process, Viftrup has created a number of new existences. Next, she has broken down the plastic into granules in a plastic grinder –which is, in industry, the first step is to recycle plastic. Maria Viftrup’s creative approach towards the plastic is placing the resource in a whole new context. Her artistic contributions derived a kindness towards the resource.  

In addition to her work, the pilot hosted a workshop together with Maria Viftrup where citizens could design lamps made from plastic waste collected in Vejle. A number of these lamps is now are now permanent interior in one of Spinderihallerne’s meeting rooms called Arkivet. The remaining art pieces from Maria can also be found as permanent interior in Spinderihallerne. 

In the first exhibition, the Vejle pilot also showcased innovative design and products to increase awareness and create curiosity among visitors and participants. 


Welcome to the final exhibition 

It is not too late to experience Maria Viftrups art and plastic in a new context. Vejle welcomes you to a world of plastic once again. Due to the great success of the first exhibition, a second exhibition will open by the end of April 2022. This second exhibition will also be based on the theme and versatile dissemination, as seen in the first one, but it will be supplemented with presentations that provides an in-depth insight into the individual test sites and the co-created solutions will be presented. Visitors will gain insight into the results of the project and the journey of plastic, and what a resource it can become for all of us if we sort waste correctly.  

The final exhibition answers questions such as: Why is it important to sort plastic? How can sorted plastic become new products? What challenges with plastic are there in the healthcare sector, the retail industry and in the private home?  – and how can we turn these challenges into opportunities and solutions?  And what has the REFLOW project taught us? 

Another new aspect at the second exhibition is, that it will become more interactive compared to the first exhibition that was challenged by lockdown. The increased interactivity is made possible by the inclusion of workshops and events linked to the exhibition – as well as interactive elements within the exhibition. For example, a workshop about experiments with biobased plastics that was hosted by Materiom and FabLab in Spinderihallerne will be integrated. The materials that was developed during the workshop will be exhibited. The workshop has resulted in the development of a handbook about biobased materials that will be exhibited as well.  

In addition, educational material done by Mind the Future is connected to the exhibition as well. The teaching material is developed for the primary and lower secondary school and will be made available so that school classes can visit Spinderihallerne and use the materials.  

The diverse forms of communication within the exhibitions aims to appeal to a wide audience and many different target groups. The broad commitment is making the exhibitions versatile and interesting across different visitors. 


Anyone can join 

REFLOW Vejle’s exhibitions are for everyone. Therefore, you are also invited to experience plastic get new life. Stay tuned at Reflow Vejles Facebook page, Linkedin site and  website. 

Here you will also find the invitation to the pilot city’s final conference The Future is Now: Radical Experiments with Circular Economy. The conference is in Danish and will be held on the 3rd of May in Spinderihallerne Vejle. 

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