Using recycled materials to build cars has been all the rage lately in the automotive world—but most of those automakers note that their ideas are firmly in the realm of the concept or prototype. Yes, we can use recycled material to craft a car... but we don’t have to. Not yet. So, a group of Dutch students at the Technical University of Eindhoven set out to show that it’s totally possible.
Named Luca, the bright yellow electric car is fully functional and is made entirely out of waste products, “including plastics fished out of the sea, recycled PET bottles and household garbage,” Reuters reports.
This isn’t the first time the Technical University has made something like this. In 2017, students there created the world’s first bio-structural car, which was also fully electric and made of recycled materials.
The newer, sportier version was crafted by 22 students over a period of about 18 months. The goal is to prove that it’s fully possible to build a car using materials that started out life with a different purpose, to prove that the things we throw away can have a very fruitful second life as a completely different object.
You can watch another video from the university itself here. That clip shows the interior of the car and the bare-bones interior as the students built their machine.
Humans create an estimated 2.1 billion tons of waste each year, which is honestly pretty wild. As populations grow, we begin to run out of things to do with those tons of waste, which is what has made recycling such an enticing prospect. The more we re-use materials, the less we have to send to the dump.
No, this car isn’t massively fast (its top speed is 53 mph), nor is it intended to be a perfect example of the kind of recycled vehicle we could see in the future. But if a bunch of students can turn household garbage into a fully functional machine, then it’s high time for automakers to step up and see how to improve the process.