I prefer materials like wood or anodized metal to plastic, but it’s incredibly cheap and durable so there’s no denying it’s worth. Over the last month I’ve come across impressive examples of plastic transportion.
A plastic, airless tire
I discovered this from an online slideshow at Scientific American. The Pentagon is working with Resilient Technologies’s “non-pneumatic tire” (NPT) for use on their Humvees. It sports a honeycomb structure that does double duty. Unlike air tires, it won’t explode on hot driving surfaces, and the tire can still transport it’s riders to safety even if up to 30% is destroyed by land mines or small arms attack.
A recycled plastic bridge than can support the weight of a 70-ton Tank.
Axion International Holdings (AXIH) was recently honored by the US Military for their work in building a bridge out of recycled plastics at Fort Bragg, NC. It’s the first time any bridge has been able to bear the weight of the M-1 Abrams 70-ton tank. To break down what 70-tons is, it’s the rough approximation of 140,000lbs, or 46 Toyota Prius’.
“Constructed from 100% recycled high load plastic, Axion’s two bridges transform waste products that would otherwise be land filled, they resist rot and damaging insects without the use of chemical treatments and require minimal maintenance throughout their lifecycles”
A colonel at the ceremony remarked that this is one of the first times the government has partnered with the R&D community to develop “sustainable solutions to infrastructure challenges” Gene Marcial of Businessweek writes that “bridges and rail alone represent potential sales of $1 billion”. AXIH is in a prime position as plastic makes big changes, and potentially big money in the world of transportation.
On a more personal level, my friend came into the studio the other night with a hard plastic clamshell box from her on-campus dining hall. It’s a smart business move for these reusable and compostable plastic companies to sell wholesale to universities as well as restaurants. I think this plastic clamshell box has the potential to change how we do takeout. Imagine if restaurants would give you a discount if you brought your own container for your takeout, it saves them money on buying the disposables and you avoid the guilty act of overflowing your trash can with styrofoam containers. It applies the idea of tupperware to your takeout. Even the ladies of Design*Sponge also promotes the idea of bringing your own containers to the grocery store. Reusing bags was the big thing of the past few years, and the to-go box is primed for the next spotlight.