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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Bottle House Built in Mexico

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This is not the first bottle house featured on Oddity Central, but it’s definitely the most impressive looking.

After finding these pics on several spam sites that posted no link to the original source, I spent quite a while trying to find some info. Finally I discovered the photos were uploaded by someone on Instructables and were of a family building a plastic and glass bottles house, somewhere in Mexico. That’s about everything I was able to find out about these photos, but what’s that they say? A picture is worth a thousand words?

bottle-house

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The House of Plastic Bottles

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Apart from the breathtaking Iguazu Falls, one of the most important tourist attractions in the Iguazu area is the House of Plastic Bottles, built out of plastic bottles and other recyclable materials.

Alfredo Alberto Santa Cruz got the idea of building a house from plastic bottles while he was creating a playhouse for his little daughter. After he finished it, he noticed the plastic the structure was pretty sturdy and realized he was on to something. That’s when he decided to build a one-bedroom cottage out of plastic bottles, for him and his family.

Mr. Santa Cruz’s bottle house features a bed, chairs, shelves and even a fake hanging plant, all made out of PET bottles. Practically everything inside the house is recyclable, apart from the wood framing and a few metal bolts. The walls are made from 2-liter plastic bottles, while the roof consists of hundreds of tetrapak cartons (the boxes you drink juice from). Alfredo has flattened them into shingles and turn them aluminum side up, to reflect the sun and keep the place cool. They would only last for 4-5 years, due to rains, but he covered them up with a layer of plastic, cut from bottles and says this combo could last even 20 years.

I’ve seen glass bottle houses before, even a temple built out of glass bottles, but this is my first plastic bottle house.

plastic-bottle-house

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The Man Who Builds Recycled Houses

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Dan Phillips has become a regular celebrity in his home town of Huntsville, Texas, for building 14 fully functional recycled houses out of construction waste and scraps.

The 64-year-old constructor has lived a varied life, working as an intelligence officer in the army, a college dance instructor, antique dealer and even as a puzzle maker. He has spent the last 12 years building affordable houses for the poor, using discarded materials.

Anything durable people throw away is a potentially useful building material for Dan Phillips. He runs down to construction sites and landfills and takes away almost everything they throw away. His houses are not all the same, he builds each one with the materials at hand, but he views that as a good thing. After “repetition creates pattern”.

Dan Phillips’ recycling philosophy has changed the way the entire community sees the recycling process and he has even been contacted by companies who wanted advice on how to build recycled warehouses.

Dan uses his very own construction company to build the houses, but always asks the beneficiary to take part in the building process. This way, if something ever breaks, they’ll know where everything is and how to fix it.

via New York Times

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