A bucket and spade set can conjure up memories of childhood seaside holidays and happy hours spent building sand castles on a beach. Where once brightly illustrated tin buckets and wooden handled metal spades were used, in more recent years children enjoy a plethora of tools made from plastics materials. These have undoubtedly improved the safety of buckets and spades, removing the risk of cut fingers and toes, and have enabled the production of imaginative designs intended to be handed down between siblings and generations. The collection on display here demonstrates the use of a wide range of plastics materials.
Gum-Tec (1 - 2) is a material that was developed to address the problem of chewing gum waste litter. The silicone used in both the Dante beach set (3) and the Scrunch bucket (4) is flexible, enabling them to be easy to pack and, being soft to the touch, they are safe for very young children. The brightly coloured polystyrene turreted castle bucket (5) is made in large quantities making it inexpensive to buy. The polyethylene Ballo beach bucket (6) is designed to be non-spill and, although more expensive than a more traditional bucket, it is very robust; its makers hope that it will be enjoyed by more than one generation. The robust nature of polyethylene is also exploited in the sand spade (7). It is lightweight, colourful and inexpensive to produce in quantity. Polypropylene is used to produce the Scoppi unbreakable shovel (8) and the Scrunch diggers (9), offering strength without being heavy, and both are designed with easy-grip handles.
The Dantoy bucket and spade (10) are made from eco-friendly bioplastic using sugar cane as the source material. They are made to last with high stiffness and hardness and a low tendency to distort. The sand shovel and bucket by EKOBO (11 - 12) utilise waste sawdust from chopstick factories. Once again, the makers hope that the robust nature of this material will be valued and last well, making it a more sustainable option.