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A neat trick: Student recycles old plastic bags to make skateboards

Skaters going green. Pic: Reuters/Matthew Stock.

Skateboarders are known for high-flying tricks, from jumping off of ramps to shooting down railings, but now one British designer is touting an environmental trick of his own, by using old plastic bags to make boards.

Brunel University design student, 22-year-old Jason Knight, used around 1,500 plastic bags, or 1.8kg worth, to make a skateboard deck.

The plastic bags were put in a machine, which heated it to around 200 degrees Celsius for up to two hours, then pressure was used to mould it into a solid object.

“We all know recycling is the right thing to do,” Knight told Reuters. “I thought if people have a tangible reward like a skateboard (from) recycling it would incentivise people to do so.”

Knight holds one of his skateboard decks made from shredded plastic bags in Southbank, London. Source: Reuters/Matthew Stock.

The plastic decks are fitted with conventional axles and wheels. Decks are normally made out of plywood and typically cost anywhere between GBP40-60 (US$50-75).

Knight hopes his idea could be implemented to encourage young people to collect enough waste plastic in exchange for use of a press similar to the one he built.

English retailers sold 1.1 billion plastic bags to customers in the six months after a charge was introduced in October 2015, a drop of around 85 percent from the previous year, according to United Kingdom government data.

Knight is not a skateboarder, so he took one of his finished creations to a skate park on London’s South Bank for others to field test.

“People really like the idea; no one has seen anything like it before. They like the flexibility, it means you can jump higher,” Knight said, adding he picked up a few tips on the design.

“The thing I need to address most is the weight; it’s important for doing tricks that I make it lighter.”

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