Nextek develops a unique compound that taps into our waste stream to produce a valuable recycled material for building purposes.

Transforming hard-to-recycle plastics into school benches is precisely the sort of topic destined to pique a school child’s curiosity. From an education perspective demonstrating how we can now harvest our urban forest and in so doing reduce our reliance on our living trees is a golden opportunity to bring sustainability into the classroom. Which is precisely what Professor Edward Kosior and his team at environmental specialist, Nextek – https://www.nextek.org – want to achieve by donating a range of different benches made from recycled materials to schools across the UK.

Following years of research into paper-plastic composites Nextek have developed a unique compound that taps into our waste stream to produce a valuable recycled material. This compound has the potential to be used for multiple applications, from waterproof decking and furniture to providing structurally strong materials on a much bigger scale. Its durability, strength and versatility could easily match wood as a building material, in fact in many instances it would surpass it.

WRAP Cymru – www.wrapcymru.org.uk, brought Nextek – https://www.nextek.org – and the UK’s leading composite decking manufacturer, Ecodek – www.ecodek.co.uk together to merge their expertise. Nextek clean and shred the mixed plastic waste to produce a compound that Ecodek extrudes into strong polymer composite profiles or slats.

This collaborative project – one in a series of recycled content trials funded by the Welsh Government and led by WRAP Cymru – seeks to demonstrate that such composites can be turned into a totally waterproof building material that use a range of awkward to recycle materials from crips packs to plastic food pouches.

Following successful trials Nextek are now ready to donate the resulting outdoor, wheelchair-access furniture that has been designed for schools. As Professor Ed Kosior, founder and CEO of Nextek explains;; “We want young people to better understand the value of tapping into our ‘urban forest’, in other words our waste streams, to produce high-quality building materials that will not only address our landfill issues but reduce our dependence on wood as a building material.”

So far they have donated a wheelchair access bench to Coleg Cambria, a further and higher education college in North Wales and London-based Hawksmoor Primary School. The plan is to continue rolling out these unique benches to schools across the UK in a bid to educate the next generation to appreciate the value of our so called ‘waste’ that should in fact be turned back into valuable and durable materials.

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