Miniwiz’s Trash Lab is reinventing waste into new materials for architecture, fashion, and and consumer goods. In doing so, they hope to turn problematic waste streams into the key materials in a more circular economy.

The Trash Lab, by Miniwiz, is an innovation studio dedicated to the creation of new materials and consumer goods from varied waste materials. In the same way that different metals can be combined to create alloys with varying structural properties, so can different waste products. By combining unlikely waste products like PET plastic bottles and rice husks, Miniwiz’s Trash Lab is creating thousands of new composite materials, each with its own unique subset of properties for architecture, apparel, transportation, and more. Modularity is a central principle in their designs, so where possible their products are combined mechanically rather than being glued together with adhesives, in order to improve their reusability and recyclability.

Amongst their many solutions is the POLLI-Brick, a lightweight and low cost building material created using plastic bottles. It is assembled using a honeycomb-like interlocking system and was the key building material in the facade for Taipei’s EcoArk pavilion, which is made from the equivalent of 1.5 million plastic bottles. Miniwiz estimates that POLLI-Brick systems cost 80% less than conventional construction materials, and generate significantly lower emissions. POLLI-Bricks have also been used to make reusable drinking containers, and even as the hull of a boat.

Miniwiz is headquartered in Taipei, which already boasts high recycling rates – 52% of municipal waste and 77% of industrial waste. Miniwiz has expanded to Beijing, Berlin and Milan. The company is also well known for their Trashpresso, a self-contained mobile recycling device.

Why you should care

Despite the growing attention paid to the circular economy, much of our economy continues to operate on a linear, take-make-dispose value chain. In Europe alone, it is estimated that a transition to circularity would add €1.8 trillion in economic value by 2030, on top of numerous social and environmental benefits. Miniwiz is accelerating the shift to circularity by unlocking the value of waste, and proving its usefulness across a number of industries.

How the Global Goals are addressed

Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Miniwiz has developed over 1000 new materials to help industries optimise resource efficiency and improve sustainability.

Responsible consumption and production

Miniwiz is reconceptualising waste as a highly useful resource, developing innovative ways to transform it into the key materials of a circular economy.