New East Digital Archive

This Hungarian artist is creating designer wallpaper from used plastic straws

18 July 2018

The war against plastic straws officially hit the mainstream this summer, with retail giants such as Starbucks and IKEA promising to banish the throwaway items from their stores.

But for Hungarian textile designer Katalin Huszár, recycling means more than an outright ban. Her project, Notjustuseless, transforms disposable straws into high-style fabrics and wallpapers.

Locals in the Portugese town where Huszár now lives donate their used straws to the project using dedicated boxes. Each container is linked to a QR code, so that everyone can see how their straws are being used.

The patterns, colours and shapes in each piece depend on the straws which have been donated: knitting the project and the local community.

“The first boxes we used had the QR codes directed to the project’s Facebook page, so if the code was read by an individual, we got a notification,” says Huszár. “As of now, the codes are directed to our Instagram account which makes the counting a little bit harder. At the moment, I would say that the evidence of the bins being used is more physical than digital. If a box is full, we are happy, as it means that people are being conscious and they are engaging with the project.”