Christmas Tree Built Out of Mountain Dew Cans

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If you’re looking for an original way of recycling your old soda and beer cans, a nice Christmas tree is probably your best bet. You can use this Mountain Dew can tree, as motivation.

Back in 2006,  a group of Mountain Dew drinkers decided to put their drinking to good use, for a change. It took three months to gather the 400 cans of soda needed for their monumental project, but it definitely paid off. After four days of drilling holes into a PVC pipe, sticking construction flags in it and attaching the Mountain Dew cans to them, the guys had built quite a Christmas tree, topped off by a big plastic bottle, instead of the usual star.

It’s been four years since the Mountain Dew Christmas tree was built and other unusual Christmas trees were created since then, but it remains very popular, and people seem to remember it, around the holidays.

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The Intricate Book Carvings of Julia Feld

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Using various carving tools, mixed media artist Julia Feld breathes new life into old, useless books by transforming them into beautiful artworks.

A scientist by trade, Julia Feld has always enjoyed the visual elements of science and started carving old books to draw attention to their beauty rather than their outdated content. While most people aren’t interested in the information these books contain, anymore, Julia tries to give them a second chance to be valuable. Making great use of exacto knives, rotary cutters, tweezers, rulers, pliers, files, custom cut panes of glass, and lots of glue, the artist creates incredible carvings that leave you wondering “how did she do it”?

While some people accuse her of ruining vintage books, Julia Feld insists she is actually a book lover, and would never dream of carving up a book that she believes still has valuable content. That’s why she prefers to work with reference books that are several editions out-of-date, and have been salvaged from garage sales or second-hand shops.

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“Read Between The Signs” – Unique Recycled Road Signs Mural

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Situated along side Route 322, near Meadville, PA, this project was thought off by artist Amara Geffen and Arts & Design Initiative Director, in 2002 and has been an ongoing work ever since. It is realized through the collaboration between he Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Allegheny College’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED).

This is a form of community based art project, an original way of celebrating Earth Day. 1200ft long by 9ft tall, this fence is supported by an already existing chain fence around PennDOT’s storage lot and it is entirely made out of recycled road signs, combined as to depict places and people – for example the French Creek watershed, Allegheny Mountains, forests, roads or even PennDOT workers – but also features solar and wind powered kinetic components, thus paying a tribute to the environment.

It’s not only beautiful and original, but it has also managed to bring together the people of the community, having become the pride and symbol of Meadville.

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Waste Monster Is Made of Thousands of Plastic Bags

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A group of Slovenian environmentalists have created a scary waste monster, made of tens of thousands of plastic bags, to raise awareness to the world’s ever growing consumerism and waste problems.

To create their unique Plastic Bag Monster, the group of enthusiasts roamed throgh the streets of Ljubljana, collecting used plastic bags and plastic cups. In the end, they managed to come up with 40,000 plastic bags and 7,500 cups, collected from 12 kindergardens, 21 primary schools, 4 high schools, 3 colleges and 500 passers-by, from around Slovenia’s capital city.

As the waste monster keeps spreading its tentacles across Ljubljana, the message it sends becomes clearer – consumerism has gotten way out of control and that’s what spawned this abomination that has managed to adapt to our environment and is about to replace us at the top of the food chain. It is capable of reproducing at unimaginable speeds and feeds on people’s sloth and irresponsibility towards the environment. It knows no mercy, and unless we find it in ourselves to change, it will destroy us all…

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Ingenious Architect Uses Aluminum Cans as Shingles for His House

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Richard Van Os Keuls has used flattened aluminum soda and beer cans as siding for his plywood house extension, after deciding conventional materials were too expensive.

Van Os Keuls, an architect from Silver Spring, Maryland, first got the idea of incorporating flattened aluminum cans into his trade after seeing a car drive over a discarded soda can. He thought to himself that it would make a pretty decent aluminum shingle, so he began building his own stash of old cans to experiment with, at a later time. That time came around when he finished the plywood extension on his house, and began looking for a cheap material to side it with.

The ingenious architect admits his idea of using aluminum cans has nothing to do with art or the environment, as he was simply looking for a cheap and durable alternative to conventional siding materials. Wearing heavy construction boots, Richard first stomped on the cans and then flattened them even further with a sledgehammer, rounding the corners so people wouldn’t get cut when leaning up against the house. He found that flattening each can was time-consuming, so he started working on several at a time. When they were ready to be placed on the wall, he would place 30-40 cans overlapping each other and secure them with a long aluminum nail.

At first, he wanted to paint over the cans, but as the siding started to take place, the color mosaic looked better and better, and he even made sure that no no two same color cans were put together. He began ordering cheap colorful beer and soda cans from other countries, just because he wanted as many different colors as possible. But he needed a lot more cans than he could buy, if he was to complete the siding, so he tried to collect more from the neighborhood dump. That got him cited twice, and earned him fines for theft of city property and transporting stolen property, so he had to rely on donations from neighbors.

When he finally completed his unique project, Richard Van Os Keuls’ house was covered by around 22,000 flattened aluminum cans. He says they aren’t noisy when it rains, and while aluminum tends to develop a chalky oxidation, the ink on the cans has significantly slowed up the process, so his can-covered home is still a colorful inspiration to architects and designers around the world.

 

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Musician Uses Old Records as Shingles for His Roof

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Matt Glassmever, a Nashville musician who doesn’t mind using his hands around the house, has used 350 old vinyl records as shingles for his porch roof.

Using a nail and washer to cover the middle hole in each of the 350 records, Matt managed to create an original roofing that not only looks good, but is also quite practical. As you can imagine, this unusual roof was looked upon with skepticism by people who claimed it would disintegrate in less than a year, from the powerful sunlight, but Matt says he kept another hundred vinyl records outside for two years, and neither heat nor cold did anything to affect their durability. The labels peeled off, obviously, but the records themselves were in very good condition.

I doubt Matt Glassmever cares much about what other say about his roofing project, what’s important is that he managed to recycle some old records in a very original and practical way, and nobody can ever take that away from him.

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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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