TEDxDelft 2015-2016 | TEDxDelft Salon | Waterproof cardboard

Wout Kommer Salon

“Has anyone ever been to a festival, to a campsite, and noticed all the mess left behind after it has finished?” asks Wout Kommer, student at TU Delft and co-founder of KarTent. The solution to the waste left behind, he says, is cardboard.

“In the Netherlands one out of every four people leave their rubbish behind when they leave a festival,” Kommer explains. For the organizers this poses huge problems, having to clean up the waste being left behind. “Can we create a tent that is dry, reliable and recyclable?” The answer, he says, is cardboard.

Cardboard as a material meets all of these criteria. After several trials and tests, a cardboard tent which could withstand downpours was ready for use at festivals. Convincing the festival organizers and visitors proved a challenge, but slowly they are starting to come around.

Cardboard might seem like an unlikely material, but these tents show its potential, argues Kommer, and how materials in the broader sense can contribute to the environment. “Look beyond the common application of a material, look for a new meaning and a new way to apply it.”