10 Creative Ways to Recycle Ordinary Objects

Advertisements

Creatively artistic recycling doesn’t have to be limited to helping the environment: it can also be a challenge and opportunity to ingenious designers who work with materials most people would consider waste to create amazing things. Some of the following designs serve multiple purposes: illustrating the material possibilities of what most would consider trash while also maximizing the aesthetic potential of what would otherwise be considered waste objects. Clothes become rugs, airline trolleys become furniture, cardboard becomes bridges and sewage turns into building blocks!

Recycled Clothing Rug

The Volksware designers have provided an interesting alternative way of recycling clothes that may not even bit fit for the Salvation Army. By stitching them and rolling them they have created a simple carpet system that can be cut to length and fit to a space. This kind of recycled furniture design is something to think about the next time someone tells you to pick your clothes up off the floor!

Trolley Furniture

Ever wonder what happens to those oddly shaped airplane trolleys when the airlines are done using them? Well, so did Bordbar before they began appropriating and adding splashes of design to them and reselling them to the public as useful (if odd) multipurpose mobile furniture. These are highly customizable have have a surprising range of possible functions once they are recycled into use – including doubling as recycled bookcases and bookshelves.

Recycled Newspaper Building

Recycled Newspaper Building 3

There are few things being produced as rapidly, regularly and in such volume as newspapers. Many of these are, of course, recycled by traditional means, but what if they could serve another purpose that didn’t require the some amount of reprocessing? Sumer Erek has been working on one such alternative: reusing newspaper as interior decoration and insulation in a house – be sure to add some recycled wood bowls to your recycled wood table in the middle!

Recycled Bag and Ruler

Recycled Notebooks

The Remarkable product design team has created a series of colorful and useful versions of traditional products made out of unusual recycled materials. Their approach is quite simple yet compelling: they brand individual products with information about their origins. This makes for conversation pieces but also raises awareness about the origins and potential of composite recycled materials.

Recycled Cardboard Bridge

Architect Shigeru Ban is well known for a number of high-profile architectural designs but perhaps less so for his artistic and ecological side projects such as the cardboard bridge pictured above. This bridge is composed over over 250 recycled cardboard tubes with recycled paper and plastic comprising the stairs. Amazingly, this recycled bridge can hold up to 20 people at once!

Recycled Building Block

The BituBlock may interesting and almost artistic … until you realize it is made from post-consumer recycled products including ash, glass and, yes, sewage. Still, it doesn’t smell and ultimately it is an incredibly strong and durable building block that rivals other materials such as concrete that would be used in similar situations – and does so using almost entirely reused and recycled materials.

Recycled Materials for Art

The Remida Center appropriates scrap materials from all kinds of local businesses in order to gain raw materials ranging from wood and metal to plexiglass and plastic that students can use in art projects. The idea is both to facilitate art but also to raise awareness about the origins of materials, essentially recycling otherwise unused materials and putting them toward the production of art.

Garbage Gardening

There are all kinds of approaches to garbage gardening that appropriate trash items and reuse them for decorative or practical purposes in gardens. The example shown above is just one of many including colorful mosaics from broken dishes and assorted other ideas. Not extreme enough? Try guerilla gardening instead or other ways to colorfully recycle see-through materials.

Casette Tape Wallets

Italian designer Marcella Foschi has developed a quite clever way to recycle cassette tapes: a product material that exists in abundance but is associated with a dying (or dead) technology. Her coin purses are at least cute (if not collectible) and appropriate a material we all know, love and have stopped using.

Audio Tape Fabric

Marcella Foschi isn’t the only one with ideas on how to reuse audio tapes. Some clever designers have taken it to the next level and begun to weave sonic cloth from the actual tape within the cassettes.

87 thoughts on “10 Creative Ways to Recycle Ordinary Objects”

  1. Coin purses make great media but they have no application to real-world environmental concerns. Yuppie lip service. Let’s get real.

  2. i am all for saving the environment, but let’s face it. being “active” is a huge trend right now amoungst impressionable youth. for instance, i see 15 year olds with “vote for change” shirts and “barack and roll” shirts all around town.

    the way these things are designed they seem to be pretty stylish AND help the environment. however, 10 ball point black ink pens being sold at £10, this very well could just be one of the best marketing schemes ever.

  3. I guess there are some thing you could do in this list. I mean, the CD case greenhouse is one such example, and I will be doing something similar this summer (provided it’s sunny, not flooding this year!) This said, I am going to modify the design from a black roof to a transparent roof…

  4. The newspaper insulation in the house wouldn’t work very well anywhere there were cockroaches, as “wild” cockroaches live in between tree bark, so they love cardboard and newspaper. Your house would become a cockroach house. And God forbid there was a fire. I don’t even want to think about it.

  5. This is a great site. Thanks for all the wonderful things you are doing plus, at the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery (Student Creative Recycle Art Program)we have thousands of cd containers and one more idea of how to reuse them always helps! Look out for a new crop of green!

  6. If you like this – look into “fibercrete”. It’s an old idea that works. Paper recycled into cement.

  7. Fabulous creative ideas that may not work for everyone but every little bit helps…anything to create awareness. Check out “reuse centers” in your area, a growing trend of centers which collect reusable business discards and donate the items back to kids, educators, and artists, look for one in your area.

  8. These are very cool ways to recycle different things I never would have thought of any of these. I just wish there was a little more information on each one and not just a discription.

  9. Yeah, newspapers for insulation. Ever heard of cockroaches? They'll love this harborage/food source combo!

  10. We haven't all stopped using tapes. I have more MP3s than the next guy, and more vinyl too, but I still rock my tapes in my 20 year old Alpine in my car. Some 15+ year old recordings sound better than MP3s.

    Hennnnyway- some interesting ideas which will hopefully help spawn more. This is the future- believe.

  11. Very nice list. I'm still amazed at how creative some people can get about recycled materials. My son plays soccer and now I'm seeing soccer balls that are made from some type of recycled plastic material. It looks and feels very similar to a traditional leather soccer ball. Hopefully, we can learn to recycle everything one day.

  12. The newspaper insulation in the house wouldn't work very well anywhere there were cockroaches, as “wild” cockroaches live in between tree bark, so they love cardboard and newspaper. Your house would become a cockroach house. And God forbid there was a fire. I don't even want to think about it..

  13. Ahhh 'yuppie lip service' and 'real world environmental concerns' ,,typical environmental nazi douchebag gobbledygook. Get down to the real issues in the world and stop worrying about the chemical makeup of cow farts. Fucking hippies.

  14. suppose they could build another one? there's plenty of scrap cardboard around.
    Gotta do something on rainy days hey?!

  15. suppose they could build another one? there's plenty of scrap cardboard around.
    Gotta do something on rainy days hey?!

  16. I would say looking at this collection of clever ideas that every art and design college should make a trip to the garbage cans round the back of the building compulsory classes. Some gret stuff here.
    Thank you.

  17. I would say looking at this collection of clever ideas that every art and design college should make a trip to the garbage cans round the back of the building compulsory classes. Some gret stuff here.
    Thank you.

  18. I would say looking at this collection of clever ideas that every art and design college should make a trip to the garbage cans round the back of the building compulsory classes. Some gret stuff here.
    Thank you.

Comments are closed.