Waste as a wonderland

The Dutch initiative Wonder Wasteland collects denim, candle and polypropylene waste, which young makers and designers use to create new products.

The Amsterdam-based ‘community lab’ aims to collect things we commonly discard as waste, like torn jeans, leftover candle wax, and shampoo bottles, commonly made of polypropylene (PP). Located in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, the designers from Wonder Wasteland are from the Upcycle Store, which – unsurprisingly – sells upcycled products, like belts made from bicycle tires and necklaces made of cutlery.

Visitors can donate their leftover denim, candle wax (either natural like beeswax or soy wax, or paraffin-based) and PP materials, which are used to make new candles, bags and other products. Every time you hand in materials, you get a stamp, and with five stamps, you receive a free upcycled product.

The initiative aims to create consciousness about the value of waste. In Amsterdam, only 32% of waste is separated to be recycled, while the national average is 60%. Amsterdam aims to be a waste-free city by 2050.