For his graduation project, Thomas Thwaites decided to recreate a mass-produced toaster from scratch. This is no easy task, even if you know how. The sticking point: how do you get the materials? To make a toaster, at the very minimum, you need copper, iron and plastic. Metals are mined, and plastic is produced from oil. These aren't things easily accessible from nature.
So Thomas visited an iron mine (at first they misheard and though he was making a poster), climbed the Scottish mountains, and used 500-year-old technology to obtain most of the materials he needed. Unfortunately, laying his hands on a barrel of crude oil turned out to be more difficult.
With the deadline approaching, he was forced to cheat on the plastic. Collecting and melting plastic waste material proved to be a nice workaround. In fact, this little cheat cast natural resources in a new light. If humanity ceases to exist, it will leave behind enormous fields of plastic. These can easily be mined. Sustainable indeed.
The Test_Lab audience got to see the toaster being plugged into the mains for the first time -- an exciting and potentially dangerous operation. There was a flash and the smell of freshly crisped... toaster.
An impression of the occasion: