Expressways in Japan provide very clear instructions with concise signage. Once the driver has decided on the destination, there is basically no need to refer to the map for direction. When maintenance is in place on the expressways, another set of signages would be placed to guide road users to avoid the blocked roads and use the diverted roads. These once helpful signages would become useless once the maintenance work is done and end up as a pile of garbage. On one hand, the expressways provide to the road users convenience, on the other hand, they can be harmful to the environment.
Circulation Shutoko is a Tokyo company that manages waste created by the Shuto Expressway, which has been serving as the artery in the Greater Tokyo Area for over 50 years by connecting Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba Prefecture, and other areas. Precisely because of the high usage, the Expressway also generates a considerable amount of waste. Circulation Shutoko provides with a solution by upcycling the waste into useful products.
Banners hanging on the bridge are light, waterproof and elastic. Through a collaboration with the bag manufacturer Rootote, Circulation Shutoko transformed this material into a tote bag series called Hataraku Tote that features unique color and patterns on every bag. The banners are also used to make the slipper series Aruku-tire. The sole of the slippers is made from dumped tires and is attached to the upper part by discarded nails that were used to hang the banners on the expressways. Last but not least, the Hi-W8 series showcases skateboards made from former traffic signs.
Circulation Shutoko is not only working on upcycling, more importantly, they would like to raise the environmental awareness of their industry. From a mega construction of an infrastructure project to a small household renovation, all of these processes create various types of waste. Would you leave them as unwanted garbage, or would you try to give them another life?