Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Trash to Treasure and Other Useful Things

After the shocking state I found the beaches of my homeland, I've become a bit obsessed with knowing where our trash goes - and with finding other, non-trashable options for all that plastic and paper and rubber and glass we discard on a daily basis.

So, other than turning our organic kitchen waste into rich soil, and looking into how to re-use difficult-to-recycle packaging, I've been investigating ways to keep our discarded stuff out of the dump.

Navigating internet and curious to learn more about what was going on in that respect in Africa (our home-to-be for the next couple of years), I stumbled upon an impressive array of creative people. It seems to me that all around the world, whether in Kenya or in Uruguay, people are realizing that unless we do something now, we'll be soon buried in trash. That we can't wait until slow-moving bureaucracies get up to speed, and we need to organize and generate solutions to the problem immediately.

Bugs and bags out of basura [garbage]

After scanning a bit what people in Africa were doing, I got the impression that almost anything could be turned into something else. Broken ceramics or eggshells were made into art, bottle caps into fashion accessories, kitchen implements, or animal sculptures.

Sometimes the wheel of rebirth became a continuous loop: car tires became sandals, and sandals became toys, which, of course, you could take home into your choice of recycled (customized) paper or plastic bag. Don't fancy toys out of rubber and would prefer toys out of tin? Also possible. Don't feel like wearing accessories out of plastic and would like accessories out of cloth? Possible as well.

And, if on top of keeping the trash out of the dump (1 point), and making useful, beautiful objects out of those materials (1 point), we manage to exercise our creativity, create new jobs, and generate income (3 points), isn't it a win-win-win situation?

5 out of 5!

Applause for the creators please.

* The photos are from the Maker Faire Africa 2010 website and those of the participants.

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