Founded by Vanessa Yuan and Joris Vanbriel, the guiding ethos of ecoBirdy is based on social and environmental responsibility. Their schools outreach programme in Belgium educates children about the environmental impact of plastic waste and encourages them to contribute to a more sustainable future by recycling their old toys. The programme is supported by an accompanying storybook (1) to support the children’s understanding of the concept. ecoBirdy is co-funded by COSME, Europe’s programme for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Yuan and Vabriel undertook an in-depth two-year study looking at ways in which plastic toys could be recycled in a sustainable way. Children in Belgium schools are invited to bring in their own old plastic toys and put them in a large collection container. After collection, the toys are sorted, cleaned and separated into colours and ground into flakes. Using a process which does not require the addition of pigments or resin, the flakes are transformed into ecothylene, a recycled polyethylene material, and then into items which are designed with safe, rounded contours, have a smooth surface and are easy to clean, and have a distinctive speckled appearance. Children and parents can leave their contact information and will receive an email showing them their toys in their new forms, enabling children especially to understand the whole concept of recycling valuable resources.
The Kiwi storage container (2) is part of ecoBirdy’s first range. It is designed to raise awareness of the Kiwi as an endangered species. The container’s interior is accessed by removing the head, which attaches to the body with magnets. The robust material from which it is made is suitable for indoor or outdoor use. This container is part of a range of products that were awarded the Good Design Award® in recognition for outstanding design and innovation.