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From waste to new object

In 2021, CAP Group, the water service utility of the Metropolitan City of Milan, launched the experimental and research project CAPitoli urbani, in cooperation with Social Factory, a spinoff of Iuav University of Venezia, to design and develop a new process for the transformation and recycling of waste material (not separated or pre-sorted) into hot moulded slabs that can be machined by using subtractive technology.

CAPitoli Urbani is a research programme to enhance the value of plastic waste, with the aim of recycling it and creating new sustainable materials that can also be used to make designer objects.

The production process involves several stages of selection and appropriate recombination of waste material in order to then be able to use moulding machines to produce slabs from the end-of-life packaging of dairy products, processed in CAP Group's treatment plants. This agri-food waste is used in the anaerobic digestion progress, in addition to wastewater sludge, to increase biogas production; while plastic packaging waste is used for the CAPitoli Urbani programme, thereby completing the concept of circular economy.

The experimentation assessed the aesthetic variations that can be generated from different waste composites, actually resulting in separate collection, with different aesthetic and narrative properties depending on the type of source waste.


by designer Andrea Zambelli and the Martinelli Venezia studio in Milan