Reuse More than Recycling

by | Jul 1, 2020 | Art, Featured, Featured, Lifestyle

The creative world has mobilized against the abuse and misuse of plastic.

But for real change to happen, we need environmental education, starting in early childhood.

by Rossana Orlandi, design, gallerist 

I’m not against plastic. It’s not plastic’s fault. The problem is one of abuse and misuse: excessive production and behaviors that harm the environment. As always, the harm is not intrinsic to things, but to how we use them.

In the case of plastic, we should remember that its success is due to a simple reality: it is an extraordinary material with characteristics that are hard to replace. Plastic is inexpensive, it lasts forever, and it has a fundamental role in certain sectors (think medicine and hospitals, in the spotlight in recent months). But – the other side of the coin is a heavy one – if it is not suitably disposed of it can cause disaster.

The Sacco Goes Green collection, in a limited edition. Innovative and sustainable materials for a new take on the cult seating by Zanotta – designed by Gatti, Paolini, Teodoro in 1968 – in a perspective of environmental sustainability –


Reuse, more than recycling

I am a meddler by the character: if there’s a problem I do something to find a solution. A few years ago, I asked myself what I could do – with my expertise in the field of design and art – to tackle this gigantic problem. My answer was to ask a group of designers to concentrate on the reuse of plastic and to demonstrate that it can be given a second life.

My first project was called Senso di Colpa (guilty feeling) and its aim was to raise awareness among design lovers (and others) on the theme of reuse and recycling of plastic. I wanted to transform a scenario of ecological disaster into a creative opportunity, giving rise to furniture with a unique design made by converting plastic. Because – and we all know this by now – reuse is much better than recycling.

For the exhibition ‘Ro Plastic-Master’s Pieces’ curated by Rossana Orlandi. Bonotto produced a tapestry designed by Jaime Hayon in polyester from ordinary recycled plastic bottles –


Reuse More than Recycling

In 2019 the project became Guiltlessplastic. In this case, I invented a prize, permitting creative talents from all over the world to come to terms with a project that would demonstrate the possibility of reusing plastic. The Ro Plastic Prize gathered over 300 candidates from 50 countries, discovering young talents. We also organized an encounter (Ro Ring) and an exhibition (Ro Plastic-Master’s Pieces) at the Museo della Scienza e delle Tecnica Leonardo da Vinci. The exhibition of one-offs created by salvaging plastic gave a second life to a material that causes major pollution if it is not properly handled. If it is approached with knowledge, using its virtues, it can be shifted into surprising applications.

‘To Re or Not to Re?’, designed by the studio JoeVelluto and made in collaboration with Teraplast. Presented for the Ro Plastic Prize 2019, the first edition of the competition created by Rossana Orlandi


Reuse More than Recycling

This year Ro Guiltnessplastic 2020 set out to raise the level of the challenge, getting beyond the main theme and approaching the concept of the circular economy. Obviously, the pandemic stopped everything, but we will continue to try to stimulate concrete actions and dialogue, to change unhealthy, widespread everyday habits.

The industry is responding in a positive way: but to truly change, we need environmental education that starts in early childhood. Education about sustainable growth, after all, touches all aspects of life and shared values of equality and respect for others, for future generations, for diversity, the environment, and the resources of the planet.

William Amor, Railway Flowers. Installation in the exhibition ‘Ro Plastic – Master’s Pieces’ curated by Rossana Orlandi, at the Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia for Milano Design Week 2019


Reuse More than Recycling


As Andy Warhol said: “I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anyone could ever want.”


Work by the artist Elia Festa, shown in the context of the exhibition ‘Blau’ at the Acquario Civico di Milano, from 18 September to 3 November 2019. Forty works, including photographs, sculptures, and installations, made with plastic waste whose release into the environment causes profound damage to the ecosystem


Reuse More than Recycling



After having worked more than 20 years in fashion as a spin yarn consultant for labels such Giorgio Armani and Donna Karan and for her family company, in 2002 she decided to transfer her passion for design as a private collector into an innovative gallery, a platform where to showcase her personal idea of design and lifestyle. She has been working as a curator for several exhibitions in Italy and abroad and she collaborated also with the high-end brands in fashion, luxury, and lifestyle. Her constant research worldwide has made her one of the most influential people in forecasting young and upcoming designers.

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