The Plastic for Good Challenge is an initiative of the Distributed Design Market Platform in collaboration with Precious Plastic. In this challenge, 14 creatives and designers teamed up to conceptualize, design and manufacture products from recycled plastic.

I was part of Team Pink, working with designer Nidhi Mittal (India) and plastics expert Moritz Wussow on the Aam Backpack project.

We decided to focus on the social aspect of plastic recycling, developing a unique backpack for children. In developing countries, such as India, kids need to travel long distances to go to school, where they sit on the floor as there aren’t any tables in the classrooms.

Using only plastic waste, we designed and manufactured the Aam backpack, which is a functional backpack that can be transformed into a small table.

The backpack’s structure was made using recycled HDPE beams, which were cut into lightweight stripes and joined fusing them together. The structure is slightly flexible in order to be comfortable to use but rigid enough to hold notebooks and pencils.

HDPE beams after being cut into thin stripes

The inner part of the backpack was made using plastic bags, which were fused together in one piece, but this design also allows to use textile waste instead of plastic.

Nidhi Mittal working on the structure and textile combinations
Multiple layers of plastic bags fused together

Using two common materials such as HDPE and plastic bags, we are able to make a truly recycled (and recyclable) plastic product. The manufacturing process is also really simple, requiring basic Precious Plastic tools which can be easily sourced.

Aam backpack: table mode
Aam backpack: backpack mode

You can also find a step by step tutorial of the Aam backpack on Wikifactory.