Amazing and Inspiring Uses for Recyclable Materials
Texas Recycling is one of the leading recycling facilities in North Texas. We process tons of recyclables—paper, corrugated cardboard, newspaper, office paper, and industrial scrap metal—every week. Knowing that our efforts benefit both the local economy and the environment is gratifying, and we love our business. Plus, we when we come across stories about people and businesses taking creative recycling to a whole new level, we can’t help but share them to inspire more innovative uses for recyclables.
It’s been said that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are those who see value and potential in what others consider useless. These visionaries give new life and purpose to discarded metals, plastics, paper, and other materials that might otherwise end up in landfills.
An online search will lead to artistic and functional creations made from discarded household and industrial items. Here are just a few stories of creative recycling that have inspired us.
A Labor of Love
In Tennessee, a group of women who call themselves “the bag ladies” meet every Thursday night at the Second Baptist Church in Union City for fellowship and crocheting. What makes this group different is that instead of using store-bought fabric yarn, they produce their own “plarn” from used plastic shopping bags. They crochet the plarn into attractive, comfortable mats for the homeless to sleep on. It takes about 600 plastic bags and hours of arduous work to create each 18-square-foot mat.
And this Tennessee lady’s group isn’t alone in their creative recycling efforts. Individuals and various organizations around the country are knitting recyclable plastic bags into ground mats for the homeless.
Retired schoolteacher Sandy Watts learned about the process through the local Lions Club. In addition to the ground mats, she also crochets matching pillows from plarn. In an interview with a local news outlet Watts said, “This was a way I could help homeless people and stop a lot of plastic bags from ending up in landfills.”
Turning Trash into Cash, or Handbags
In 2010 the EPA estimated that 70 percent of the heavy metals found in U.S. landfills was from e-waste—discarded televisions, computers and peripherals, cell phones, etc. Today, more stringent federal, state, and local regulations on e-waste disposal have alleviated the problem. Plus, the realization that used electronic components have the potential to generate income has led to more creative recycling.
Recyclart is a unique website that shares innovative ideas for recycled, repurposed, and upcycled ideas. The brainchild of co-founders Quentinand Dimitri, the site has a combined following of close to 150,000 readers, spread out across various social media platforms. Recyclart features a variety of environmentally friendly products that include everything from home and office accessories to leisure items and more. One electronic component accessory is a handbag made from recycled keyboard pieces. This item is sold through artisans on Etsy.
Recycling Becomes Art
In September 2011 one of the nation’s largest bookstore chains, Borders, went out of business after 40 years. Computers, tablet and e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook were taking the place of bound, paper books the way CDs and iTunes had replaced vinyl records.
While tons of books have been thrown out or recycled, some have found new life in the works of Spanish artist and designer Alvaro Tamarit. Since 2013, Tamarit has been creating one-of-a-kind furniture from recycled paper, wood, photographs, and books in a series he calls “Deconstruction.”
In his art installation, When the Animals Rebel, Los Angeles artist Mike Stilkey arranged thousands of old books against a massive 16 X 44 foot wall built behind Rice Gallery’s glass façade. The artist purchased books at thrift stores and yard sales to use in his work in lieu of paper. By stacking books on their sides and using the spines as one large surface area, the work becomes both painting and sculpture. Reactions to seeing old books used as a painting surface evokes something magical, almost more so than the painting. Viewers who saw the book sculpture wanted to touch it and it smells like an old bookstore!
In 2012, artist Lisa Be was displaced from her Long Beach, NY home by the destructive storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. Five months later she launched an ambitious participatory public art project entitled “When the Beach Met the Bay.” The creative recycling mural was made of approximately 25,000 plastic caps gathered from the city’s streets, gutters, and vacant lots by local youth. It was designed to “breathe the color back into the hurricane ravaged community.”
Corporate Creative Recycling: Drive-Thru and Shoes
Known for being at the cutting edge of social responsibility, a Starbucks location in Tukwila, Washington is a reclamation drive thru. Made from four recycled shipping containers, it meets LEED green building standards. Inspiration came from the company’s use of containers to ship their coffee and tea from sources around the world. Rather than let containers wallow after moving their goods, Starbucks put them to good use not only for this store but also to serve as a prototype for future retail locations.
It is estimated that the world’s oceans contain more than 250,000 tons of floating plastic trash. Flip-flops, plastic bags, costume jewelry, drink bottles, caps, six-pack holders and more litter the seas. Unbelievably, plastic can take up to 450 years to decompose.
To battle the problem, active wear giant Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans, an environmental consortium of artists, product innovators, scientists and others dedicated to developing “alternative business models and ecologically sensible products”. The partnership produced a line of “ocean-friendly” footwear made from plastic debris recovered from the world’s oceans.
We hope these stories inspired you to see creative recycling in a whole new light. Every day, individuals and companies are innovating ways to use recycled plastic, paper, metals, and e-waste to make our world a better place.
Customers Choose Texas Recycling for Commercial Recycling
Are you a proponent of creative recycling? Is your business, industry, school, or organization involved in recycling? If not, isn’t it time you started to recycle? At Texas Recycling, we create customized solutions for companies that want to recycle responsibly—and affordably. Our experienced team has a reputation for providing value with outstanding customer service. We offer innovative solutions for your recyclables. Contact us to see how Texas Recycling can benefit your company and its environmental impact today. Call our recycling specialists at 214-357-0262.