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3 ways of upcycling trash into sustainable terrazzo

in sustainable design

Terrazzo is a finish that has been around for a very long time, and it’s inherently sustainable. In fact, it has been originally invented as a way to reuse marble & stone offcuts. Nowadays, terrazzo is still a great way to give materials a new life. And the fact that it has come back in style has multiplied the options available.

So today we’re looking at 3 modern ways of making a sustainable terrazzo finish.

leftover marble chips

The original way of making terrazzo is still in use these days. Slabs are still made using stone leftovers or repurpose other waste materials.

Bathroom vanity with back wall covered with sustainable terrazzo tiles in grey.
Credit: Coverings Etc (via Instagram)

upcycled plastic

Our world is literally overflowing with plastic waste. Even though plastic is often pointed at as the problem, the real issue lies in how plastic is used. Plastic is a pretty durable material, so it’s a clear contradiction to use it for single-use applications like bottles and food packaging. A contradiction that was predictably going to generate tons of plastic trash over time – which is exactly where we are now.

The good news is that plastic can be given a second life. Because – as the circular economy model explains – all waste can become a resource. This re-evaluation of plastic is also promoted by the Guiltless Plastic Initiative, where design gallerist Rossana Orlandi challenges designers to make plastic guiltless and transform it into beautiful and useful objects.

As a result, plastic is now used in many design applications – and terrazzo is one of them. Plastic terrazzo can be used alone or paired with other materials to add an interesting contemporary touch.

Sculptural lamp in black and grey made entirely out of recycled plastic.
Credit: Boutures d'Objets
Contemporary living room with sofa and coffee table with legs made of recycled plastic terrazzo.
Credit: DesignByThem

post-consumer rubber

One common way of recycling rubber tires is chopping them into small pieces and turning them into sheets, that are often used as flooring in gyms. Despite not sounding very inspiring at first – these rubber sheets have a beautiful speckled pattern that can find an application in interior design as well…

Minimal shot displaying a light grey side table made of recycled rubber.
Credit: Slash Objects

These are just 3 examples to show how waste can be given a new life in the form of a beautiful terrazzo finish. You can find even more on riivin: the sustainable interior design platform I curate!

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