School of Art Design and Art History

Industrial Design Student Turns Plastic into Profit

Scott Tiernan in the JMU Fab Lab

Industrial design major Scott Tiernan (B.S. '21) has created Plastic on Purpose (POP Plastic for short), an entrepreneurial effort to fabricate well-designed goods out of refabricated local plastic. Tiernan based his senior thesis on the system and process he developed after a year of research.

POP Plastic is the culmination of two independent studies: one on the material study of plastic and the other an entrepreneurial project around local, community-driven, circular economy efforts. It is an entrepreneurial effort to fabricate well designed goods out of refabricated local plastic.

Industrial design associate professor and area head Audrey Barnes remembers, "The first time [assistant professor Kevin Phaup] and I met Scott, we called him a unicorn. The fact that before he even graduates he is using his design talents to start a sustainability-centered design business proves we were right.”

An adult learner who commutes from Staunton, Va., Tiernan came to JMU  looking for a change.

"I was a full-time graphic designer with a budding music career in Charlottesville - music industry is my minor also at JMU," says Tiernan. "I was tired of staring at a computer all day and I loved making physical fabrication, so I went back to get a degree in industrial design at the age of 29."

The Rainbow Reader chair for kids

Up until now, Tiernan has been cutting all of the plastic he uses by himself on a Band Saw, so he has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to buy a plastic shredder. He's raised more than $2,500 so far.

POP Plastic home goods will be available for purchase in the near future. Follow @PlasticOnPurpose on Instagram to stay up to date.

Learn more about Industrial design at JMU.

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Published: Monday, March 22, 2021

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 24, 2021

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