Coffee cups made from coffee grounds

Back in 2011, I bought a new countertop made from "Curface," a composite material made from a mix of melted down used coffee cups and coffee grounds; we still have it and it's wearing beautifully -- you can treat it like solid wood, sanding off imperfections and oiling it back up to a shine; or you can treat it like a polymer and treat it with waxes like Turtle Wax for a durable finish. Read the rest

Inside an incredible "prop library" of vintage electronics and obsolete consumer tech

Brooklyn's LES Ecology Center maintains an incredible library of vintage consumer electronics cherry-picked from the relentless flow of e-waste streaming through their facility. From hulking videocassette decks to curious CRTs, classic video game systems to iconic landline telephones, the E-Waste Warehouse Prop Library provides prop rentals for film, television, and theatrical productions. They should also host birthday parties.

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India's e-waste recycling "markets" are toxic nightmares filled with child laborers

Millions of tons of e-waste -- much of it from rich countries like Australia -- are recycled in India, in "markets" with terrible, dangerous working conditions and equally awful environmental controls. Read the rest

In the future we might paint our homes with dead Christmas trees

Lots of folks celebrate Christmas by stashing their presents under the same reusable plastic and aluminum wire Christmas tree every winter: it's a thoughtful, cost-efficient way to cut down on the amount of post holiday garbage that winds up in wood chippers or the local dump every year.

However, a lot of people still like to kick it old school with a cut-from-its-roots-and-left-to-slowly-die-in-a-pot-of-water conifer. They smell and look amazing...for a while. Once the presents have been unwrapped and the tree begins to brown, out the door it goes. Upwards of 30 million Americans wind up tossing out these Yuletide corpses every year. Happily, it looks like a scientist has sorted out a the means for making better use of these discarded trees once folks are finished getting their holly-jolly on with them.

The process involves breaking down a chemical called lignocellulose in needles of dead pine trees into a useful substance that could be used to make paint or artificial sweeteners and other wicked useful products.

From Futurism:

Lignocellulose is ugly. No, really. Its chemical structure makes it difficult to use for biomass energy, and it serves little industrial purpose. Sheffield PhD student Cynthia Kartey’s work has focused on examining ways to make use of this material, and now she may be on to something.

Using heat and glycerol, Kartey was able to break down the pine needles into two components, one of which was made mostly of materials like glucose, acetic acid and phenol. All three have uses in other industries — glucose is used to make food sweeteners, phenol is used in products like mouthwash, and acetic acid for making adhesives, vinegar, and even paint.

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Tuba turned into a bathroom sink and tenor horns repurposed as urinals

Reddit user marc_urzz posted this photo of the fantastic sink in his step-uncle's bathroom. A little web searching then led me to the tenor horn urinals below. It would also be fun to use a trumpet as a shower head! What instrument would make a good toilet?

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Wherein Werner Herzog gives voice to a lonely plastic bag

Werner Herzog is responsible for many strange, wonderful things. Everything he's involved in is kissed by a brutal beauty--even that first Jack Reacher movie, starring Tom Cruise.

In this video from Future States, Mr. Herzog gives voice to the odyssey of a plastic bag: once loved and then discarded by its maker. For a video that runs just under 19 minutes, it runs through a full gauntlet of emotions, weirdness and existential questions. Read the rest

Apple's claims about recycling and sustainability are kinda entirely nonsense

Apple has always talked a good game where recycling and environmentalism are concerned. They're quick to point out that they recycle what they can and are always on the hunt for new, sustainable manufacturing practices to adopt. They've got robots named Liam that take old stuff apart to make new stuff! While the company's PR machine is spinning that it's Apple's dream to one day make all of their products out of completely recycled materials, they're presently shitting the bed on the most basic of sustainability practices.

From Motherboard:

Apple rejects current industry best practices by forcing the recyclers it works with to shred iPhones and MacBooks so they cannot be repaired or reused—instead, they are turned into tiny shards of metal and glass.

"Materials are manually and mechanically disassembled and shredded into commodity-sized fractions of metals, plastics, and glass," John Yeider, Apple's recycling program manager, wrote under a heading called "Takeback Program Report" in a 2013 report to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. "All hard drives are shredded in confetti-sized pieces. The pieces are then sorted into commodities grade materials. After sorting, the materials are sold and used for production stock in new products. No reuse. No parts harvesting. No resale."

...A document submitted to North Carolina's Department of Environment Quality in September 2016 shows that Apple's must-shred policy hasn't changed in recent years, even as it continues to position itself as a green company: "All of the equipment collected for recycling is manual and mechanically disassembled and shredded.

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Artist creates enormous colorful sculptures by reusing single-use materials

Anyone who has ever worked on making a parade float knows how time-consuming the process is. Artist Crystal Wagner takes it to the next level with her gigantic amorphous abstract works.

The Bedford Gallery commissions internationally renowned artist Crystal Wagner to create a large-scale, immersive piece that uses the entire gallery. Her colorful, mind-blowing installations are built from ordinary materials—primarily chicken wire and vinyl disposable tablecloths—that appear to grow organically within the gallery.

More on her Instagram:

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Meanwhile in #paris repost @modus.gallery 🙏

A post shared by Crystal Wagner (@artistcrystalwagner) on Aug 3, 2018 at 12:20pm PDT

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Meanwhile @btvcityarts my interior/exterior traverse has had a remarkable number of visitors (14,192) in the first month of its existence 🙏much love to the travelers... local and afar that have journeyed

A post shared by Crystal Wagner (@artistcrystalwagner) on Jul 31, 2018 at 2:37pm PDT

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The beautiful temporary. The material will be recycled and grown into a new pseudoscape. So much love to everyone who made it out to see my #Paradigms exhibition @thecrowncollection #finalmoment #denver

A post shared by Crystal Wagner (@artistcrystalwagner) on Jul 24, 2018 at 9:07am PDT

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Wonderful seeing all the pictures in instaland of my current exhibition #traverse @btvcityarts #regram @aquinsta #thankyou

A post shared by Crystal Wagner (@artistcrystalwagner) on Jul 1, 2018 at 11:24am PDT

Crystal Wagner's FLUX @ The Bedford Gallery (YouTube / City of Walnut Creek) Read the rest

This Jenga set is made of recycled fishing nets

About 10% of plastic ocean pollution is ghost nets, the countless lost or abandoned fishing nets that maim and kill marine life. Jenga Ocean, made of recycled nets, tries to raise awareness, recycle recovered nets, and raise funds to help end this type of pollution. Via Bureo: Read the rest

Modular floating park made of reclaimed plastic debris

Dutch project Recycled Park is a riverside area with 28 plastic planters made from debris skimmed from the river. Watch how they built it.

On July 4th the first Recycled Park opened in the Rotterdam harbor. Floating debris from the rivers and port is retrieved and recycled to create a floating park of 140m2. The aim of this iconic Recycled Park is to illustrate that recycled plastic from the open waters is a valuable material and suitable for recycling. By re-using the retrieved plastics and by producing building blocks with them, the plastics receives new value. As an extra the building blocks create a new green area; Recycled Park. Floating green structures are a plus for the city and have an ecological function in the river as habitat for micro and macro fauna as snails, flatworms, larva, beetles and fish.

Check out their site for more information on the launch and plans for future expansion.

Recycled Park first 140m2 open! (YouTube / Recycled Island Foundation) Read the rest

Jimmy Fallon sure does love this CAPTCHA joke

Jimmy Fallon often features viewer submissions like mildly humorous CAPTCHAs, you know, "those squiggly words you have to type in before you buy tickets to concerts and stuff?" He seems very invested in humorously educating the public about CAPTCHAs. Read the rest

Sneakers made from Amsterdammers' used bubble-gum

Gumshoe sneakers are made with rubber derived in part from gum chewed by residents of Amsterdam, made jointly with Gumdrop, whose gum recycling bins are used to collect feedstock for processes that create plastics and rubbers. Read the rest

Microsoft sends recycler to jail for reinstalling obsolete, licensed copies of Windows on refurbished PCs

Eric Lundgren is an environmental hero, whose California business diverts literal tons of e-waste from landfills, refurbishes it, and puts it in the hands of people who can make good use of it. Read the rest

The used cars that Europe sends to Nigeria are filled with illegal, toxic e-waste

EU and Nigerian law both ban the export of e-waste to Nigeria, but a new study jointly authored by scholars from UN University and the Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for Africa found that exported used cars represent a smuggler's bonanza for the illegal dumping of toxic waste. Read the rest

Manga shredded to make toilet paper

Brian Ashcraft on what happens to returned and defective comic books in Japan.

Oshikiri added that some of his manga were also included in the recycling bin. “As you’d expect, there were [other] ones that touched my soul, and I thought that manga creators and people in the publishing business should come one time to see this sight with their own eyes.”

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Lampshade made of repurposed prescription bottles

Emily Seilhamer specializes in upcycling everyday things. Here's a ton of amber prescription bottles repurposed as a cool lampshade. It also doubles as the world's worth windchime. Read the rest

Five easy ways to reduce trash

Just in time for Earth Day. Read the rest

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