⟨ Misc ⟩

Products from the Expressway

Upcycling the Unwanted Materials

Words / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

日本的高速公路方便得很,路牌設計清晰,認定目的地後,沿途不看地圖,基本上都不會迷路。公路也有殘破的時候,需要維修,維修時又生出一大堆指示牌,告訴駕駛者甚麼時候哪個路段不能通行,哪條行車線封閉了,須靠左走。指示明確易懂,然而修路工程完結後,指示牌便變成教人垃圾,堆積如山。高速公路方便了人,卻麻煩了環境。

首都高速道路(Circulation Shutoko)是一家針對東京的首都高速產生的廢材而成立的公司。首都高速建於50多年前,連接著東京都、神奈川縣、埼玉縣及千葉縣等地,可說是日本首都圈的大動脈,使用量大,產生的棄材也特別多。首都高速道路的成立,便是為了將那些不再被使用的棄材,再造成其他商品。

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.

掛在天穚上的橫額質料輕巧,而且防水、靭度高,首都高速道路與手提袋生產商Rootote合作,將之製成款式多樣的手提袋系列Hataraku Tote,每一個袋子的色彩與模樣均是獨一無二的。同樣由橫額造成的,還有拖鞋系列Aruku-tire,鞋底是用廢棄的車軚造成的,而連接鞋面與鞋底的釘子,原本用來將橫額固定在高速公路上,當然也是棄材之一。另外,還有Hi-W8系列,則是指示牌造成的滑板。

首都高速道路製作的產品,廢物利用之餘,更重要的是喚醒業界的環保意思。大至基建工程,小至家居裝修,都會產生大大小小的廢材,你會任它們成為垃圾嗎?還是想辦法讓它們轉世再生?

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?