You don’t need psychic powers to know Earth faces a major pollution dilemma. Even non-newtypes can see something must be done. If we don’t start finding ways to reuse items we so easily throw in landfills, especially single use products, we’re going to have bigger problems than too much garbage. The kind of problems that put the whole planet at risk. That harsh reality inspired a new project from Bandai. For six months the company asked fans to recycle plastic runners. They’re the frame molding that comes with their Gundam collectibles and have no real use beyond their single function. Instead of ending up in landfills, Bandai transformed all those pieces into an eco-friendly art exhibit. And the show’s giant plastic Gundam head could—fittingly—lead to saving Earth in the future.
The Gundam Recycling Project, organized by Bandai Namco, asked fans to place single-use plastic runners into roughly 190 bins placed around Japan. In total the project collected nearly a ton of runners. That’s a ton of would-be garbage that is now something beautiful. As Bandai used an “advanced technology” to turn all those pieces “into new plastic model products through chemical recycling.”
Those runners are now part of a Gundam toy recycling event (which we first learned about at DesignTAXI). And the exhibit’s star piece is a gigantic 1:1 scale replica of a Gundam mecha’s head. It consists of roughly 3,000 pieces and looks like a rainbow of colors organized into a formidable robot.
The show, held at Sankaku Hiroba Triangle Square in Shinjuku, also features other displays made from the recycled runners. That includes “Naked Flowers” by artist Ryotaro Muramatsu. And “Plastic Hermitage” by artist Yoichi Ochiai.
新作：ガンプラのランナーでできた茶室「可塑庵（ぷらあん）」です．前廣さん，セイビ堂さん，楽さん，大木さん，組み立てお手伝いいただいた皆様，ありがとうございました！ 土日に新宿住友ビル三角広場にて展示されています．ぜひお立ち寄りください！ pic.twitter.com/mulHXxyKwK— 落合陽一 Yoichi OCHIAI (@ochyai) November 19, 2021
These pieces are infinitely better than adding a ton of garbage to our pollution problem. But the real promise of this project is what it could mean for the future. The process used to melt the runners down into a different kind of plastic might someday be employed to make other items. That will eliminate waste. And it might also help prevent the creation of more.
Even if those items won’t look as cool as this Gundam head, they will still be just as cool.