The Polyfloss Factory project was developed at the Royal College of Art in London in 2011. The team, comprising Audrey Gaulard (textile and robotic designer), Nick Paget (industrial designer), Christophe Machet (mechanical systems engineer and designer) and Émile De Visscher (materials science engineer and designer), was exploring ecological issues and decided to devise a process for recycling plastic at a local level. After conducting various tests, the designers discovered that one of the interesting features of plastic was that it could form foam – a property which is difficult to achieve with any other everyday material. They therefore decided to produce foam from recycled plastic using a method similar to candy floss making. The Polyfloss Factory has worked with a number of institutions and schools in the United Kingdom and abroad, setting up workshops and developing new uses.
Ndao Hanavao has set up a project with designers from The Polyfloss Factory to transform locally collected plastic waste into wool using The Polyfloss Factory’s technology and equipment. Once collected, cleaned and shredded, the plastic is transformed using an innovative process inspired by the manufacture of ‘cotton candy’ into a fibre with a wide range of applications, from insulation and packaging to textile creations and moulding techniques.
This project led to the creation of R’Art Plast, a Madagascan company founded in 2022 on the model of the circular economy by five young Madagascans working in the Ndao Hanavao laboratory. The company markets an innovative ecological fibre made from locally collected plastic waste, which is then transformed into wool using The Polyfloss Factory process.