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Eco-Conscious Woman Cuts Her Trash Output to a Tiny Mason Jar Per Week

Do you think you could make do with just a Mason jar instead of your trash can? It’s highly unlikely, but a Canadian woman has managed to do just that. After seeing the huge amount of plastic waste in her son’s lunch, Tippi Thole decided to make a drastic change. While she already recycled and composted most of her trash, she knew that she could do much better.

Tippi and her son are now focused on living a more sustainable life in order to help the environment, and to that end, she has replaced their old 10-gallon trash can with a 5-inch Mason jar. You may think this means she’s started to recycle more, but actually, the opposite is true.

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Swedish Brewery Makes Beer with Recycled Sewage Water

In an attempt to raise awareness about the ability to turn wastewater into safe drinking water, a brewery in Stockholm, Sweden has launched a new beer brand made with recycled sewage water.

Aptly called PU:REST, the new beer crafted by Stockholm’s Nya Carnegiebryggeriet (New Carnegie Brewery) in collaboration with the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL) and Carlsberg is supposed to convince people that “second-hand water” can be as clean as normal tap water. IVL claims that the challenge to get people to drink recycled water is not a technological one, but a psychological one, so what better way to convince consumers of the purity of treated wastewater than using it to create a beer.

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Hood Houses – Used Jacket Hoods Recycled Into Cozy Homes For Stray Cats

South Korean ad agency Cheil Worldwide partnered with Molly’s Pet Shop, a popular pet shop chain, to provide stray cats with comfortable shelters on cold winter and spring nights, by recycling old jacket hoods into cozy homes.

Called Hood Houses, the ingenious cat cribs were created to raise awareness about South Korea’s stray cat problem, and also promote positive interaction between people and homeless animals. Last December, Goodwill shops and Molly’s Pet Shop branches started collecting old jacket hoods and other padded clothing, which were then recycled into portable dome homes, fitted with a waterproof roof, a bed as well as bowls for food/water. Over a two-week period, over 2,000 Hood Houses were given away for free to Molly’s Pet Shop customers who bought food for stray cats.

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Artist Spends Three Months Building Accurate Model of Midtown Manhattan Out of Old Computer Components

Zayd Menk, a very patient artist from Zimbabwe, spent three months building a 0.0635:100 scale model of Midtown Manhattan out of discarded computer components.

The 17-year-old artist, who made the model for a school project, used 263 sticks of hot glue, 27 motherboards, 11 CPUs, 10 CRT monitor motherboards, 18 sticks of RAM, 15 batteries, 12 Nokia E-series phones, 7 power supplies, 4 watches, 4 audio cards, 3 hard drives, 2 telephones and various other electronic components to create mathematically sound versions of Manhattan skyscrapers and buildings. To do this he spent much of his time collecting data from sites like Google Maps, Wikipedia and Reddit, and then making calculations to ensure that all miniatures were to scale.

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Talented Artist Turns Used Teabags into Miniature Paintings

Most of us see used teabags as stained, soggy pieces of trash, but to visual artist and graphic designer Ruby Silvious they are miniature canvases just waiting to be turned into artworks.

Three years ago, Ruby Silvious came up with an ingenious way of combining two of her favorite pastimes – painting and drinking tea – by using the used teabags as small pieces of canvas. She started a project called 363 Days of Tea, creating a unique teabag painting every day for 363 days. To the New-York-based artist, it served as a sort of daily diary, allowing her to record her feelings and thoughts as whimsical miniature illustrations, but also compelled viewers to re-evaluate their views on found and recycled materials.

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Artist Creates Fairytale Dresses Out of Leftover and Used Gift Wrapping Paper

Most people throw away torn gift wrap as soon as they open their Christmas presents, but not Olivia Mears. The 26-year-old costume designer from North Carolina uses the colorful junk to create Disney princess-like dresses.

Mears is famous for turning unconventional materials into stunning outfits. Back in 2015, she went viral online for a “Taco Belle” dress inspired by Belle’s yellow gown from Beauty and the Beast, but with a dress featuring giant tacos. Keeping the Taco Bell theme going, she later created a dress exclusively out of Taco Bell wrappers, then a “Pizarella” dress shaped like a giant pizza, a warrior princess armour made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer packaging, and even a toilet paper dress. But her torn gift wrap gowns are probably the most impressive.

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This Landfill Diner in Indonesia Lets Patrons Pay for Food with Plastic Waste

An extraordinary new restaurant in Semarang, Indonesia is on a mission to support locals trapped in poverty, many of whome are earning less than $25 (USD) a month, by providing them with an alternative way to pay for their food.

The Methane Gas Canteen, run by husband and wife team Sarimin and Suyatmi, is located in an unexpected place for an eatery – Jatibarang Landfill in Semarang, Central Java. The landfill is a mountain of putrifying waste, where poor locals spend their days scavenging plastic and glass to sell. Meanwhile, the couple, who spent 40 years collecting waste before opening the restaurant, is busy cooking.

What makes the restaurant unusual, aside from its location, is that no cash is required to pay for meals. Poor scavengers have the option to pay for their food with recyclable waste instead of hard currency. Saramin, 56, weighs the plastic customers bring in, calculates its worth, and then deducts that value from the cost of the meal, refunding any surplus value to the patron. The scheme is part of the community’s solution to reduce waste in the landfill and recycle non-degradable plastics.

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Keep Healthy with Garbage – Indonesian Health Insurer Takes Payment in Trash

In order to show people that basic healthcare needn’t be expensive and that recyclable trash has value, a young Indonesian entrepreneur came up with the ingenious idea of allowing the poor to pay for their healthcare with garbage.

The Garbage Clinical Insurance thought up by Indonesian health care entrepreneur Gamal Albinsaid may sound like a laudable idea that’s doomed to fail in the long-term, but it’s actually been working for seven years now, and the unique model has already been copied by others across Indonesia. Inspired by others’ desire to help the poor access basic healthcare by recycling waste, Gamal Albinsaid has actually put together a free 70-page startup manual for businesses looking to get into garbage health insurance, instead of franchising his innovation.

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How Discarded Orange Peels Brought a Costa Rica Forest Back to Life

20 years ago, a couple of ecologists fighting for the conservation of Costa Rica’s tropical ecosystems convinced a large orange juice producer to donate part of their forestland to a national park in exchange for the right to dispose of massive amounts of orange peels on a degraded plot of land within that same park. No one had any idea what an impact that would have.

In 1997, Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs, a husband and wife team of ecologists working with the Área de Conservación Guanacaste national park, in Costa Rica, came up with a plan to save a piece of unspoiled, completely forested land from a big fruit juice company, by offering something very attractive in return. If the company, Del Oro, agreed to donate part of its forested land to the Área de Conservación Guanacaste, they would be allowed to deposit massive amounts of waste in the form of orange peels on a 3-hectare piece of degraded land within the national park, at no cost. Disposing of tons of leftover pulp and peels usually involved burning them or paying to have them dumped at a landfill, so the proposal was very attractive.

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Artist Saves Up His Recyclable Trash for 4 Years to Create Powerful Photo Project

We often hear about the insane amounts of trash we as a species currently generate, but words and figures don’t make a very big impact on most people. Images work much better, so one French artist decided to actually show just how much trash a single human being generates over time. To do that, he stopped throwing away recyclable trash for four years.

Antoine Repessé stopped throwing away recyclable waste like plastic bottles, toilet paper tubes or newspapers back in 2011, storing it in his apartment, instead. That wasn’t a big issue at first, but as time went by, trash started covering the floor of his home, and soon began piling up and covering every available space. After four years of collecting trash, Repessé’s apartment ended up looking like the home of one of those extreme hoarders you see on TLC.

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German Man Cheats Recycling Machine Out of Over $47,000 Using a Single Bottle

A drinks vendor in Cologne, Germany was recently tried and convicted to ten months in prison for modifying a bottle recycling machine and cheating the swindling several tens of thousands of euros from the national recycling system.

Bottle-recycling machines in Germany are fairly straightforward – a person inserts one or more bottles into the machine and they receive a receipt for a few euro-cents, or euros, depending on the number of bottles recycled. But in a case presented in front of a Cologne court last week, one recycling machine ended up paying a whopping €44,362.75 ($47,000) without recycling a single bottle. It turns out that an unnamed local drinks vendor managed to modify one such recycling machine located in the basement of his shop so that he could earn a lot more than the usual spare change. Evidence presented during the trial showed that the 37-year-old defendant had installed a magnet sensor and a kind of wooden tunnel into the machine, which allowed him to insert the bottle into the mechanism, receive his receipt and then retrieve the bottle without it actually getting shredded inside.

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Recycling Crusader Uses Simple Garbage to Build Houses for the Poor

For the past five decades, Nargis Latif  has been actively advocating for the recycling of trash in Pakistan as an alternative to simply burning it all and raising pollution levels. But perhaps her greatest achievement has been developing a technique of building cheap housing for the poor of Karachi out of blocks of dry waste.

Nargis Latif’s inspiring story began in the 1960s, with a quarrel over burning trash outside her apartment. She fought hard and managed to get the burning point moved, but that was not her real goal. She wanted people to start using their waste, instead of simply discarding it or burning it, but that meant arguing with individuals who simply did not understand the benefits of recycling. So she decided to use a language they would understand – money.

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Italian High-School Students Create Vending Machine That Turns Plastic Trash into Phone Cases

A group of high-school students from Italy have invented an awesome vending machine that grinds used plastic bottles into pellets which are then turned into smartphone cases by a built-in 3D printer.

Saving the planet, making the world cleaner for future generations or just doing the right thing are powerful arguments for recycling, but the truth is some people require more materialistic incentives to actually give a damn about the environment. It’s a sad reality, but a group of kids have come up with an ingenious invention that may just get more young people involved in waste recycling – a vending machine that eats up plastic trash and turns it into stylish cases for a variety of popular smartphone models.

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Company Recycles Coffee Grounds into Durable Coffee Cups

German company Kaffeeform combines dried coffee grounds and biopolymer to create stylish-looking coffee cups and saucers that are not only durable and dishwasher-safe, but even smell a bit like coffee.

For every cup of coffee you brew, about two tablespoons of grounds wind up in the trash. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but just think about the millions of coffees consumed around the world every single day, and you’ll start to see the problem. Sure, some of those coffee grounds are recycled as fertilizer or beauty products like face masks, but most of it ends up at landfills. It was while contemplating this issue that German designer product designer Julian Lechner came up with a radical new and sustainable way of recycling coffee grounds – turning them into tableware.

Lechner first came up with the idea of using coffee grounds to create eco-friendly crockery while attending university in the Italian city of Bolzano. “We were always drinking coffee at university,” he remembers. “Before classes, after classes, meeting friends, hanging out at espresso bars—all the time. And that’s how I started to wonder, What happens to all that coffee? It was all just getting thrown away.” He began consulting with his professors about ways of using coffee grounds to create a solid material, but it took him years to actually come up with a viable solution.

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Danish Artist Travels the World Building Thousands of Scrapwood Birdhouses for Urban Birds

Thomas Dambo, an artist from Denmark, is using his sculpting skills to help thousands of urban birds around the world. Fueled by the belief that humans should coexist peacefully with other species, he makes use of scrap wood to build houses for birds everywhere he goes.

“Over the last 7 years I have made more than 3500 birdhouses in various projects all over the world,” Dambo wrote on Bored Panda. “Birds are some of the few animals still living in our cities, and I began this project because I thought that it was important to make sure that they can continue living here. It’s about creating a shelter for birds and also about reminding us that it’s important to leave room for birds in the urban world.”

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