upcycling

Posts tagged
with upcycling



Design

Discarded Wind Turbine Blades Are Upcycled into Sleek Bike Shelters in Denmark

November 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

It’s estimated that before 2050, we’ll generate 43 million tons of waste worldwide from one of the most promising clean energy producers alone. Wind turbines, while a cheap and carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, are only 85 percent recyclable or reusable, and their massive fiberglass blades, which are so large that they span the length of a football field, are notoriously difficult to break down and often end up deteriorating in a landfill for 20 to 25 years. Until a high-volume solution for recycling the structures becomes viable, there’s a growing trend in repurposing the pieces for maze-style playgrounds, construction materials like pellets and panels, or pedestrian bridges as proposed by Re-Wind Network, a group devoted to finding new uses for the unused parts.

A long-time proponent of wind energy, the Danish government is receiving attention for its own initiative that tasked turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa with upcycling the blade. The company transformed the long, curved component into an open-air shelter at the Port of Aalborg, where it protects bikes from the elements. Although Siemens Gamesa doesn’t have plans to launch a large-scale initiative for installing similar designs, it recently released new fully recyclable blades that can be turned into boats, recreational vehicle bodies, and other projects in the future. (via designboom)

 

Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

 

 



Design

Upcycled Railbikes Travel through California's Ancient Redwood Groves as Pedal-Powered Designs

August 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Brendan McGuigan, © Mendocino Railway

Following the same route of the long-running Skunk Train that thrums through California’s Mendocino County, a new contraption from the historic rail brings cyclists and outdoor enthusiasts through the pristine redwood groves with a smaller carbon footprint. Railbikes are two-seated, four-wheeled designs that run along the centuries-old tracks through the ancient forests just outside of Fort Braggs. Made with lightweight materials, the upcycled rigs are largely pedal-powered, although they have an electric component for hills and more difficult stretches of the miles-long route.

The new offering marks a growing trend in eco-tourism and a shift toward outdoor activities that leave little impact on the environment, with similar offerings cropping up along rails in Carson City, Sacramento, and Las Vegas that have been entirely or mostly abandoned. Skunk Train has plans in the works to expand its routes in the coming months, and you can follow its developments on its site and Instagram. Until then, watch the video below to tag along on a trek through the towering redwoods. (via swissmiss)

 

 

 



Art Documentary History

A Short Documentary Explores the Life of the 'Artifact Artist' Who's Been Excavating New York City's Trash for Decades

April 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

Jordan in his home

Descending into old privies, scouring landfills, and sneaking onto construction sites in the middle of the night are habitual activities for urban archaeologist Scott Jordan. For nearly five decades, he’s been excavating the trash and forgotten artifacts buried deep underneath New York City’s residential areas and fast-growing developments. His findings are diverse and revealing of the area’s past, offering a glimpse into the consumption habits and lifestyles of previous generations that date back to the 18th Century.

A new documentary produced by Kaleidoscope Pictures chronicles Jordan’s lifelong practice that involves digging and uncovering items that he then transforms into new artworks. Dubbed “The Artifact Artist,” the short film by the same name follows the archaeologist and historian as he pulls glass bottles, Civil War-era garments, and small toys from the earth. While Jordan cleans and restores much of the pottery and well-preserved items, he utilizes the rest to create jewelry and assembled, sculptural works that nestle into shadowboxes, which he then sells at flea markets.

Watch the full documentary below, and find more information on Jordan’s site, Things Found NYC, which he runs with Belle Costes. Shop the pair’s findings on Etsy. (via Kottke)

 

Jordan digging in New York City

Jordan in his home

A collection of Jordan’s artworks made from items he found

Jordan in his home

Items in Jordan’s collection

 

 



Design

A Canadian Company Upcycles Millions of Disposable Chopsticks into Sleek Furniture and Home Goods

March 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

On a global scale, we collectively consume a staggering number of chopsticks each year—80 billion pairs to be exact—many of which end up discarded in landfills and other waste sites. Since 2016, though, a Vancouver-based company has been upcycling the disposable utensils into a modern, minimal line of furniture and home goods.

A new video from Business Insider goes behind-the-scenes with ChopValue to chronicle the entire production process, which starts with collecting the free, raw material from about 300 restaurants around the British Columbian city. When they’re brought back to the plant, the utensils are sorted, coated in a water-based resin, and baked in a 200-degree oven for five hours to kill all germs. They’re then broken down and loaded into a massive hydraulic machine that compresses the individual sticks into a composite board, which finally is sanded and fashioned into countertops, tiles, and dominos, among a variety of other products. Since its inception, the company has saved nearly 33 million pairs of chopsticks from entering a landfill.

With three microfactories in Canada and retailers across North America, ChopValue’s footprint is growing, and the company is currently offering opportunities for franchises. Shop coasters, shelving, and other goods on the site, and follow product launches on Twitter and Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)

 

 

 



Design

A Volkswagen Beetle Fender is Repurposed into a Vintage-Style Kart Designed by Aldekas Studio

August 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Aldekas Studio

Those looking for an alternative to cars or reprieve from public transit can thank Aldekas Studio for a new set of wheels that’s both stylish and environmentally conscious. The Mexico-based designer repurposed the fenders and headlights of a Volkswagen Beetle— which officially is the Type 1 model that was released originally in the 1930s—into a miniature vehicle named “Bugkart Wasowski.” The kart’s curved body is attached to a bright red frame, which contrasts the olive green exterior. It has chrome handlebars and mirrors that mimic those on the original car, maintaining the integrity of the classic model.

Aldekas Studio shares many of its designs on Facebook, including a 3D rendering of a rustic version of the kart shown here. You also might enjoy this similar, two-wheeled project, aptly named the “Volkspod.” (via designboom)

 

 

 



Design

Fasten Seat Belt Sign Not Included: New Furniture Designed Using Retired Aircraft Parts by Plane Industries

May 3, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In 2016, Plane Industries (formerly Fallen Furniture) debuted a massive chair made using a reclaimed cowling from a Boeing 737 airplane engine. Over the last three years, the small UK-based company has continued to expand their array of furnishings and home goods that are designed and built with parts from civilian and military aircraft. Using exit doors, wheels, exhaust cones, and leading edge slats, Plane transforms them into functional lamps, tables, clocks, and chairs. Their newest design is the BAe 146 Cowling Chair, a smaller companion to the original 737 design.

Plane Industries was founded in 2012 and is led by two brothers who were inspired by their farmer father’s ethic of saving and repurposing materials. The team works out of a studio in Bath, England. See more from Plane Industries on Instagram and Facebook and shop the collection on their website.