Meet Tubby the Recycling Dog

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A Labrador Retriver called Tubby has helped his owner gather and recycle around 26,000 plastic bottles, in the last six years. The canine’s efforts did not go unnoticed, as Guinness offered him a spot in their famous book of records, for the most bottles recycled by a dog.

Tubby and his owners live in Pontnewydd, Wales – one of the best performing recycling authorities in the country, and it’s no wonder, considering both people and pets like to lend a hand…or paw. On every one of his two daily walks, Tubby picks up at least three plastic bottles, crushes them with his teeth, and brings them to his owner, Sandra Gilmore. She says Tubby has had a nose for plastic bottles ever since he was a young pup. He would crawl under things, jump into bushes and even leap into water to fetch the bottles.

Sandra suspects her beloved Labrador loves to collect plastic bottles because of the sound they make as he bites down on them, but regardless of the reason, Tubby has proven his commitment to making our planet greener. Come to think of it, the fact that he likes to chew on them makes recyclers’ lives a lot easier, as the bottles are already crushed.

Miss Gilmore tries to do her part as far as recycling is concerned, and she admits Tubby has helped her quite a bit. During the six years that he’s been “on the job”, he managed to collect 26,000 plastic bottles. I’d say his Guinness Records mention for the “most plastic bottles collected by a dog” is well deserved. Still, it’s pretty sad that dog does more for the environment than most humans bother to.

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British Artist Turns Lost Hub Caps into Amazing Animal Sculptures

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Ptolemy Elrington spends his time collecting hub caps lost on the streets of Britain, and transforming them into impressive-looking animal sculptures.

To prove that “one person’s junk is another man’s treasure”, 43-year-old Ptolemy Elrington has chosen to use reclaimed materials, like hub caps, as the main medium of his art. After finishing college, the Bradford-based sculptor lived close to a sharp curve where cars would often lose their hub caps. He began collecting them from the roadside ditch, and planned to turn them all into an original suit of armor, but noticing they had a marine look about them, he decided to mold them into fish.

After he gave his first sculptures to his family, as gifts, friends started coming to him asking for some hub-cap sculptures of their own. Elrington realized the business potential of his art, and now spends most of his time creating animal sculptures in his workshop. Because his work materials are practically free, he only charges customers for his time, about 75 British pounds per day. His most expensive work so far, a 10 meter tall dragon made out of 200 lost hub caps cost 3,000 pounds, but most of his works are sold for a few hundreds.

A strong supporter of recycling, Ptolemy Elrington only uses discarded materials. He never buys hubcaps, he always uses lost ones, and even the wire used to tie the hubcap pieces together comes from the junkyard.

After seven years of hub cap sculpting, Elrington says he is a fan of luxury car hub caps, from BMW or Mercedes, because they can be flexed more,and hardly ever snap.

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Designer Turns Old Refrigerators into Beautiful Couches

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The Fridgecouch is the original concept of Canadian artist Adrian Johnson, who came up with the idea of combining used leather car seats with old refrigerators.

Adrian Johnson came up with the idea for his Fridgecouches in 2006, while searching for some stylish outdoor seating, for a wedding. It had to be relatively cheap and encourage people to relax and, as the artist puts it: “break free from the typical cliquey wedding scene.” A car enthusiast who’s always been trying to keep old cars running, Adrian went on one of his frequent trips to the junkyard, looking for spare parts. He stumbled upon a two-door BMW coupe, and noticed the cherry-red leather back seat was practically brand new. That’s when he knew back seats were exactly what he was looking for.

With part of his problem solved, Adrian spent that night thinking of something to put the car seat in that would have the same aesthetic look and could be found at a dump. His mind stopped at a refrigerator, and the next morning he rushed to the local dump, with a tape measure in hand. As he kept looking through the junk, his eyes got stuck on an old, almost perfectly preserved green olive refrigerator. The Fridgecouch was already born in his mind.

Fast forward to 2010, Adrian Johnson has only built three of his impressive-looking Fridgecouches, but hopes they will soon turn into a profitable business that will also teach people the value of reusing, instead of contributing to our world’s waste problem, by constantly buying brand new furniture from the store. Fridges and car seats are large scale wastes that are practically un-reusable and take a great deal of energy to crush and recycle. Through his concept, Adrian turns them both into a whole new product without wasting any energy at all.

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The Bizarre Human Ashes Sculptures of Wieki Somers

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Dutch artist Wieki Somers pushes the boundaries of recycling in her project “Consume or Conserve”, which plays with the idea of turning our loved ones’ ashes into everyday household items.

Instead of burying or cremating a beloved family member, wouldn’t you rather give this person a second life as a vacuum cleaner, or a toaster? This way you could cherish them forever, and they in term could feel useful by helping you with your daily chores. And would having our household items made from someone dear make us more attached to them, instead of quickly throwing them away as waste? That’s basically the idea behind Wieki Somers’ sculptures made from human ashes. Depicting weird scenes featuring toasters and dead birds, vacuum cleaners and dung beetles, and weighing scales and bees, these unusual artworks also come with a plaque stating the name and lifetime of the person they were created from.

For her human ashes sculpture series, Wieki Somers used donated remains and a 3D printer.

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The Food Packaging Fashion of Katell Gelebert

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French designer Katell Gelebert has created a line of clothes, made from various food packaging, that expresses her position as an environmentalist and human rights activist.

By using the packaging of everyday foods like pasta, frozen vegetables, coffee and even cat food, Katell Gelebert has created some pretty amazing pieces of clothing that have great potential for re-use and are also esthetically pleasant. Using only low-tech means, the French artist managed to combine design and reusable materials, without creating more waste.

If you’re interested in more packaging artworks, check out Jason Clay Lewis’ rat poison packaging art.

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50,000 Milk Cartons Make a Great Castle

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Built back in May, during an event that took place in Granada, Spain, this recycled castle was made of 50,000 empty milk cartons.

Designed by the students of the Facultad de Arquitectura de Granada (Granada’s Architectural College), the milk carton castle of Granada was built exclusively out of  tens of thousands of empty milk cartons, gathered by over 5,000 primary school children. The three schools that gathered the most number of milk cartons had the privilege to attend the unveiling ceremony and see the end result of their efforts.

The 29-meters-long, 14.07-meter wide and 7-meter-high milk carton castle was acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest sculpture ever made with recycled materials.

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Chinese Environmentalist Sails 1,000 Km in Plastic Bottle Boat

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Xia Yu, a man who really believes in the concept of recycling, has built a functional boat out of 2,010 plastic bottles.

The 37-year-old boat builder gathered all the plastic bottles at a tea-house he manages in Xiangtan, central Hunan Province, China. Every time a customer left behind a plastic bottle, he just added it to his supply, until he got the number he needed to start construction on his boat.

This is not Xia Yu’s first plastic bottle boat. Last year, he built hos first one out of 1,500 plastic bottles and sailed 35 miles in it. This experience gave him the confidence to built a second, larger boat, to sail in all the way to Shanghai, for the World Expo. His second creation is seven meters long, features 5 sails ( the tallest of which las a special message that reads “Low carbon emission, beautiful world”) and has room for a six man crew.

Although when he began his journey to the Shanghai World Expo, in May, he expected it to last only 45 days, Xia Yu only arrived at the event on September 15, after sailing over 1,000 miles. He hopes his achievement will raise awareness to the environmental problems afecting our lives every day.

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Environmentalist Builds Floating Island with 100,000 Plastic Bottles

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Eco-pioneer Richard “Rishi” Sowa designed and built an artificial island kept afloat by 100,000 plastic bottles.

Spiral Island II is actually Rishi Sowa’s second artificial island. He built the first one in 1998, near Puerto Aventuras, using 250,000 plastic bottles to keep it afloat. Sadly, his recycled island was destroyed in 2005, when Hurricane Emily passed through the area. Most of Spiral Island was washed up on the beach, but Sowa decided to build a whole new island, in a safer area.

And that’s how Spiral Island II came to be. With the help of volunteers, Rishi Sowa gathered around 100,000 plastic bottles and hand-built his second recycled island, in a lagoon that offers protection from bad weather. The new island features a house, beaches, 2 ponds and a solar-powered waterfall, but its creator says Spiral Island II is and always will be an eco-work-in-progress. Although smaller than its predecessor (only 20 meters in diameter), you can expect the new Spiral Island to increase in size, significantly.

One of the most impressive DIY projects ever attempted, Spiral Island has inspired volunteers to come to Mexico and help Rishi Sowa improve his creation. But while some believe it a perfect environmental design, built entirely of recycled materials, there is some controversy surrounding Spiral Island. There are those who believe that if the island gets destroyed by a hurricane, again, the materials used to build it (mainly plastic bottles, sand, mangrove plants) will litter the waters of the Atlantic.

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Chinese Student Builds Boat Out of Paper

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Wang Luyao, a junior student at the Commercial Service College in Wuhan, has built a perfectly functional boat out of sheets of paper.

In an attempt to raise awareness about recycling, and green living in general, Wang used his paper boat to cross from one side of the Hanjiang River to the other. Escorted by two normal canoes, the young student jumped in his paper boat and rowed the 800-meter distance in just seven minutes, proving that boats made of recycled paper really are an environment-friendly solution.

Wang Luyao’s paper boat is 1.9 meters long, 1.2 meters wide, weighs 45 kg, and is made out of raw sheets of paper that the young student collected, himself.

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Manshyiat Naser – The City of Garbage

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The Manshyiat Naser slum, on the outskirts of Cairo, is often referred to as “The City of Garbage” because of the large quantities of trash shipped here from all over Egypt’s capital city.

As unbelievable as the photos below may look, Manshyiat Naser is a real place, where people make their living out of trash. Like in any other normal community, you’ll find streets, houses and apartments throughout the settlement, but everything and everyone here depends on garbage. The inhabitants of Manshyiat Naser (called Zabbaleen) bring the trash into the city, by truck, cart, or any other means necessary, and sort any recyclable or useful waste.

Every street and every building in Manshyiat Naser is stacked with mountains of garbage, and you’ll see men, women and children thoroughly digging through them, looking for something they can sell. Although it may seem like an outdated system of handling trash, the Zabbaleen do a far better job than any of the waste handling systems of the modern world. Around 80% of the trash is recycled and resold, while the rest is either fed to the pigs roaming through the city streets, or burned for fuel.

The Zabbaleen barely manage to survive on what they make sorting out garbage, but many of them have done it for generations and wouldn’t conceive living their lives otherwise. They dispose of about a third of Cairo’s garbage, at no cost to authorities, and manage to make a decent living for them and their families. The Model of Manshyiat Naser has been copied in various cities around the world, including Manila, Bombay and Los Angeles.

Many photographers have been fascinated by the Zabbaleen way of life and the distinct look of the City of Garbage. As I look at the photos below, I can’t help but wonder: where’s Wall-E when you need him?

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The Junk Portraits of Vik Muniz

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Using domestic and industrial junk, Brazilian artist Vik Muniz is able to recreate anything, from photographs to famous paintings.

Just because the artworks of Vik Muniz is made of junk, doesn’t mean it stinks. he’s actually been living in New York for the last 27 years, and is now recognized as one of the most original artists in the Big Apple. Over the years he has worked with various mediums, from chocolate syrup to caviar and even diamonds, but it seems garbage has become his favorite.

The “Junk Portraits” series of Vik Muniz features reproductions of classic paintings like Saturn devouring one of his children, by Goya, Mars, God of War, by Velasquez, or Sisyphus, by Titian. They have all been recreated from various junk items, on a giant warehouse floor and photographed from an elevated position, to make individual objects hard to distinguish.

Although the actual recreation of his junk portraits from garbage, might seem like the most important part of his job, his work isn’t completed until he takes photos of them.

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The Recycled Art of Guerra de la Paz

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Guerra de la Paz is the name of an artistic duet, made up of Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz, two Cuban artists who live and work in Miami, Florida.

Since the favorite art medium of Guerra and de la Paz is clothing, the two find procure their material from waste bins and second hand shipping companies in Miami’s Little Haiti. Guerra de la Paz views its efforts of looking for discarded clothing as a form of archaeology. Each item is a relic that defines an individual’s personality, and together with other recycled clothes allows the artist to reinvent classic icons and historic themes, and send a message about the need for recycling, at the same time.

The works of Guerra de la Paz have been exhibited in galleries across America and Europe and have received positive reviews, ever since the project was born, in 1996.

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Creative Artists Weave Car Out of Seat Belts

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Ann Conte and Jeanne Wiley have managed to renovate an old, beat-up car, by weaving it a new body, out of seat belt material.

The two artists set their sights on a 1960′s MG Midget that was used as support for firewood, in an American backyard. Their project was all about “recycling, reusing, repurposing and sustainability” so they decided to give their Midget a woven look. And what better material to use, than overstock seat belt material (over 500 yards of it). After weaving the body, the two simply bolted it to the car’s metal skeleton.

The seats of this woven vehicle are made of a partially recycled material, known as Corian Terra, and the headlights and tail lights are handmade ceramic. Conte and Wiley’s recycled car can be admired as part of a new exhibit at the South Shore Art Center, in Cohasset, MA.

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Old Printed Circuit Boards Turned into Sculptures

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Printed circuit boards (PCB) are one of the biggest environment threats of our time, and recycling them, instead of dumping them in a landfill, should be a top priority.

Artist Steven Rodrig took PCB recycling to another level, when he created a series of sculptures made entirely from circuit boards and other electronic parts. His collection includes a series of pieces he calls “Organic Life Forms” that depict various insects, animals and plants.

Very Similar to the ASUS Motherboard Mona Lisa, Steven Rodrig’s entire PCB art collection can be admired at xactstudios.

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Scrap Metal Transformers Sculpture Is Uber Cool

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Made by the guys at RoboSteel, an Irish company specialized in creating artistic sculptures out of scrap metal, this Optimus Prime replica is the best I’ve ever seen.

Characterized as “the most amazing steel sculpture ever created by RoboSteel” this Optimus Prime sculpture is made of over 5,000 recycled steel parts, collected from a car, a boat, a motorbike, a dishwasher, a television and others. It’s 2.5 meters tall and weighs an impressive 550 kilograms.

Recycled Optimus Prime has been coated with several layers of strong, protective lacquer, and all the sharp edges were removed. Now it’s ready to guard your home against Decepticons, provided you’re willing to fork out 5,500 euro for it. It may not be as big as the Transformer drying laundry in Taiwan, but it definitely looks better.

optimus-prime-statue

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