25 may 2019 - 29 mars 2020


On the 25th of May, Bohusläns museum opens up a new exhibition that has been made in a way that has never been done before. Several meters of mountain face, self-luminous algae and a hollow shell for filmshow will be installed in Bävehallen at Bohusläns musem. What makes this so special? These objects are constructed with a 3D-printer loaded with material extracted from waste and organic and degradational materials, foremost from the coast of Bohuslän and Västra Götaland.

What is waste? Can we imagine a world without it? The exhibition RE:USE! gives us a narration of how humans have handled their waste throughout history, how we did yesterday, how we do today and also challenges the visitors’ thoughts on how we can do it tomorrow. RE:USE! is unique in its style because it is 100% recycled and almost entirely 3D-printed from waste.

We at the museum want to find ways to construct exhibitions without producing too much waste and to test how circular flows work in practice. That is why we wanted to look into if it is possible to use local waste to build an exhibition that can be fully recycled afterwards. The reason we are using 3D-printing as a method is because of its capacity to convert waste into resource, to reduce production wastage and to improve the conditions to be able to work more circular.

From fishing nets to self-luminous algae

3D-printing itself is not new, more areas of society constantly find use of the method and its capacity. It is rather the concept and the size on the printed objects that make this exhibition unique in its presentation. Together with partners, heaps of waste have been amassed to be used as 3D-printing building material. Never before had ghost nets, which are abandoned fishing nets in the sea, been used as a printing material. In RE:USE! the ghost nets have, with the help of Chalmer’s Robotics and PLASTIX Global been transformed into self-luminous algae. A large shell and a mountain face can also be seen in the exhibition hall, both of which are unusually large in comparison to what is normally printed.

The algaes are printed layer by layer. The green printing material (filament) is made out of fishing nets. Photo: Fred Hedenberg


The waste and the ocean

Bohuslän is a county with a strong identity connected to its coastal life. This is an ample motive to make the exhibition emphasise on the waste at sea. According to the organisation Håll Sverige Rent (Keep Sweden Clean), five full bath tubs of trash get washed up on the coast of Bohuslän every hour. Between 5-13 million tons end up in the ocean every year.

The majority of the waste is plastic. This material takes very long to degradate and does not dissipate completely. Instead the plastic eventually turns into small particles that do not just float around in the ocean, but also inside sea animals and eventually inside us humans. The ghost nets are also made out of plastic, which unlike their previous organic predecessors, do not get degraded and instead remain on the bottoms of the oceans until someone takes care of them.

Massive amounts of waste get washed up on our beaches every day. Photo: Jens Marklund

A part of the 3D-park of the future

Creating circular flows in which fishing nets are amassed to become a printable resource, is an example of why the exhibition’s partner, the Department of Growth of Uddevalla, wants to implement a 3D-park. RE:USE! is a part of the project in which our narration about waste displays the possibilities that open up when innovation and circular economy meet.

A shell made out of recycled plastics. Photo: Sebastian Thorén