This project explores the potential to upcycle shredded carpet waste, a material in the carpet trade known as ‘shoddy’. This material consists of short fibrous threads and carpet residue (80% wool, 20% nylon). Currently shoddy is sent in bulk to landfill, which is costly to both our environment (nylon is plastic) and to the businesses who require paying for uplift of this waste material.
This fibrous material, in a sense, unattractive and more often than not disposed of, set me a difficult challenge. I successfully produced a range of samples and products that utilised this carpet residue, contributing in some way to the renewables philosophy.
A number of different samples were produced. Some of the product examples that I have created from my processes, are a series of birdhouses. These are each created using an eco-friendly bio-derived resin as the binder.
The birdhouse utilises the insulation qualities of the carpet waste material 'shoddy' and is designed to protect the inhabitants from the harsh elements. Over time the house takes on the form of the surrounding landscape with a tactile surface that encourages moss and lichen growth. The design can also be customised (shape, size and colour) and in doing so be attached to buildings promoting urban bird conservation.
The object can also be taken apart and cleaned, which is currently an improvement upon many birdhouse designs on the market today.
In a sense, the use of this material in this form is original, with no existing research or applications. The proposal I hope has been imaginative with various samples created, explaining possible solutions with these and the alternatives to the existing market. I accept that I focussed on the potential of the material and in the manner in which it is created. However, I am pleased with the product, which only reflects what might be possible. The moulding process indicates that there is potential to create many forms and if time had permitted I would have explored other possibilities.