Green Gutter – Dutch Design Week

Hi Everyone,

I’m Quentin Peiffer, I’m a French research technician working at the UMC Utrecht as 3D printing specialist for biomedical application. As such I’m based in Utrecht, Netherlands.

I’m enthusiast about all applications of 3D printing, and if I focus on future biomedical applications at my workplace, I focus on environmental issues and how I can try to make a change for greener societies during my free time. As such I’ve won a contest in April with an idea for a new design of our gutters in order to introduce more life in our cities. This project will be featured at the Dutch design week in Eindhoven but there is still a lot left to do, and I’m convinced that this community would be of great help, notably material wise.

To quickly describe the project. The green gutter project aims to recycle plastic and wood dust to develop a material similar to PVA/Sawdust mix for a more natural touch. This material would be used to 3D print a new biophilic design for our gutters which could be a new surface for moss, bird nest or insect hotels, in order to make our cities a shared space for both humans and nature.

To make this project a reality I still require a grinder and an extruder to create the filament, I already have a 3D printing that could be used for the project.

Don’t hesitate to contact me 😉 !
Thanks and Cheers


hi quentin – my names terry from ho land and i saw your gutter shout out…yes the world really needs more gutters! (water retention is one of my many favourite upcycling topics, besides subsoil irrigation)
i’ve looked into both the organic/plastic composite possibilities (usually called “WPC’s or wood plastic composites) and the moss development topics …purely by coincidence.
Moss often prefers a somewhat acidic substrate – so pretreat any organic additives to the plastic mix accordingly and get a goed insight into exactly which types of moss you might want to use first.(maybe you know this already 😉
WPC’s are actually a very promising material with up to 70% plastic replacement but have been plagued with mould sensitivity and required biocidal treatment of the organic fibres,however, it seems a totally biocide free treatment has been developed very recently.
WPC’s also seem to have an improved recycling quality profile due to their lower temperature requirements during extrusion.less heat = better longterm quality.
if its of any help – i initiated a very small experiment with a kind  belgian professor from VKC last year using lysozyme treated cellulose fibre (thats a fancy name for grass that has been ruminated and “extruded” out of a bulls ass – yes its just washed bullshit fibre – i also have some water buffalo fibre i’d like to test some time due to its more agressive stomach enzyme which could enhance lifespan 😉
no shit…i even took a foto of the bull…as one does.
i think the professor might find your project interesting as a concept because she was looking for new applications for WPC materials along with diverse other stakeholders i met at an industry brainstorm session in belgium.

another potential lower PH WPC fibre additive i’ve looked at is acetylated wood sawdust – although it might be a little coarse and may need extra milling or grading for a clean extrusion.
just by coincidence – ive been planning to visit the director of a company specialized in this to ask about this specific topic and share an old sample  (accoya in arnhem)
accoya wood has a garantee of 50 years above ground and 25 years submerged.
seems like the perfect match for WPC to me.
ok, sorry if its getting a little long now but something else came to mind;
Forbo the linoleum company were also looking for upcycling applications for their “jutepluis” waste – these are the grindings from the back of the linoleum and look/feel very similar to woodflour – they sponsored a project at DDW a couple of years ago and i got a very constructive reaction when talking with the sustainability guy – maybe they are still open to innovations, and i think the fine consistency of the material could be compatible with extrusion.

ok last idea – basalt wool growing medium (rockwool)…120,000 tonnes of this are disposed of every year in holland and basalt seems to be a happy substrate for moss (slightly acidic?) – i just know this because its one of the upcycling material themes i’ve looked into.
i’m sure you could add up to 80% into the plastic mix…but the basalt fibres could be very abrasive.maybe someone needs to try it to find out 😉
google images basalt/moss – you’ll get the idea

thats probably enough geeking out for now quentin – if you have any specific questions you can also mail me

ps. 6 september is a presentation & discussions hosted by a biophillic inspired architect/engineer at the VIBA association in den bosch  (“vereniging integrated bio-logische architechtuur”)
by coincidence i’m a member and dont know if i have time to attend – but  i think your concept, vision and attendance would be welcomed by the old pro’s there.


Hi Terry,

Sorry for answering just now.

I didn’t know what to expect when joining this community as it’s the first time I engage myself in such initiative but I must say that I’m amazed by your input and I wasn’t expecting such enthusiasm.

I work in Biomedical research and I know too well how knowledge get lost by lack of communication, and I’m sure you saved me a lot of time with your message. I haven’t been able to put as much time as I would like into the project with my current schedule and the time I allocate to the project is not very fruitful as there are many directions to explore, your message highlights it quite well as possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately, I have a dutch course tomorrow evening so I don’t think I would be able to join the talk, but maybe you can send me more information about it by email to as I’m really interested in the topic.

To get back to our business, Moss was a pillar of the project as they are known for their resistance to desiccation, water retention, and air filtering, I’m currently cultivating moss in my room to understand a bit better how they grow but I’m afraid it appears to be more challenging than most people would think. My colleague and I were initially inspired by the “City tree” project from Green cities Solutions. However, moss is a very general term for a wide variety of species and I’ve had quite some trouble to find accessible information about moss in the Netherlands which are not coming from complex botanical documents. So the help of a botanist would be quite welcome. I’m currently looking at Sphagnum to see if they would be of any interest for the project. I think it’s also important to mention that I’m open to any input concerning any possible plant that would interact in a positive fashion with WPCs but I’m not sure if anyone really explored those questions.

It would maybe take me even more time to discuss all the ideas you’ve mentioned but they will go straight to my notebook and will surely help me greatly to give a direction to my research, I would be more than happy if you can put me in contact with people which are also knowledgeable on WPCs.

I still would need a grinder machine and a filament production machine as my main goal is to be able to produce a fully functional 3D printed object. I would first try different mixes of material to investigate their printability properties and from there examine their degradation after printing and how moss is interacting with them.

I would love to reach partner to develop this project but as my very first own project but I’m a bit afraid to get in contact with possible partners as so far I have nothing substantial.

Thanks again very much for your time Terry, it’s very much appreciated.