A Few Million Steps Beyond Recycling

I have definitely been on the environmental theme with my posts lately, and there are a couple more people doing great things that I need to mention. It’s one thing to recycle – painstakingly separating magazines, hangers, and milk cartons, putting them in the correct receptacles or shelves, then saying ‘there, I’ve done my good deed for the day!’ The next (million) steps is to actually collect those remnants of consumption and create useful products, artwork, or just enormous attention-grabbing experiments.

In the latter I’m talking about David de Rothschild, a charming English trans-continental explorer and avid environmentalist that I saw at a symposium yesterday at Pratt. His current project is to create a vessel designed to sail the Pacific made entirely out of reclaimed post-consumer plastic water bottles. It’s really being built, because he showed us pictures of the 60-foot catamaran in progress. The expedition is meant to get lots of attention for inspiring sustainable solutions, as well as highlighting the damage being done to the oceans by humans. He mentioned a garbage dump in the ocean about the size of Texas, that just sort-of floats around…

This concept is also being lived by Tiffany Threadgould, a graduate of Pratt and self-proclaimed ‘rebrander of garbage’. Her story and new business was featured in The New York Times as advancing a larger garbage-loving agenda and teaching people how to rethink the way they consume. Instead of buying the $1 plastic bottle and throwing it away, she is urging people to think of the myriad uses for what otherwise would be taking up space in a landfill somewhere. Some of the products on Threadgould’s site, RePlayGround, provide a simple framework for creating your own recycled material products.

Threadgould’s DIY wine cork trivet (hot plate). This one is personally really interesting to me since I’ve basically saved every wine cork from every bottle of wine I’ve ever consumed. I knew I would eventually have a use for them!

If anyone has any great artwork or other products they’ve seen made from recycled or salvaged materials, please send them along. I would love to see (and post) more innovative uses for what most people would consider trash!

Published by Elizabeth Pizzuti

Design, art, and cats mostly

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