Fun with Waste: Transforming e-waste into post-apocalyptic landscapes

Photographer Benjamin Von Wong uses his photography as a way to make a positive social impact. Thought-provoking as they are beautiful, Von Wong’s high-concept series are innovative in their use of materials.

For his e-waste landscapes project, Von Wong used 1,800 kg of e-waste to create post apocalyptic landscapes.  The significance of the 1,800 kg explained Von Wong in an interview in My Modern Met, it that it equals the approximate amount of e-waste an American might use over their lifetime.

Fun with Waste: Bin Art

The City of Kamloops recently added to its collection of  painted garbage bins.

“I wanted to create something unique and eye catching with vibrant colours, depth, and cohesion that athletes, fans, families, coaches, and passersby will enjoy,” stated the artist, Kristen Gardner, who painted the works in a press release. “I hope that my work makes people smile and brings some happiness and vibrancy to the concrete setting.”

The project is aimed at increasing vibrancy and decreasing vandalism; each bin is given an anti-graffiti coating. Last year a couple dozen bins were painted over.

Fun with Waste: Milk Waste to T-shirts

Mi Terro, a Los Angeles-based cleantech startup recently began manufacturing T-shirts using spoiled using fibers manufactured from spoiled milk.  The company uses biotechnology to re-engineer milk proteins into sustainable fibers.  The fibers can replace plastic in fashion, medical, and packaging industries.  The fibers can also be used to make t-shirts using 60% less water than required for an organic cotton shirt.

The fiber-from-milk method was invented in just three months by co-founders Robert Luo and Daniel Zhuang. After visiting his uncle’s dairy farm in China in 2018, Luo saw just how much milk product gets dumped first-hand, and after some research, he found that the issue was one of a massive global scale.

Mi Terro is make up of a team of Ph.D material scientists and chemists. The company aims to redefine circular economy in which everything begins with food waste and ends as recyclable or biodegradable.

 

 

Fun with Waste: Upcycling old clothes

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In a recent article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, describes the upcycling efforts of Jess Gillis who is creating new redesigns of old clothes.  could be a fun way to upcycle some of her older pieces.  In the article, she is quoted, “Thrifting and upcycling is so useful when you’re looking for a unique piece for your wardrobe. Plus, you’re helping to reduce the waste that is produced by the fashion industry.”

In Canada, each household throws away approximately 100 pounds of clothing per year, contributing to the rapid filling of  landfills with textiles.  Many of textiles could have been repurposed.

“I am trying to do my part to be a more environmentally conscious person and the fashion industry is a major contributor to pollution,” she says. “It’s important to understand the environmental impact we cause with each decision we make as consumers. So, upcycling is a great way to be more sustainable and express yourself.”

 

 

 

Fun with Waste: Wetsuit Wrangle turns trash into Yoga Mats

What do old wetsuits, delicious beer and chic yoga mats have in common? The Wetsuit Wrangle.

On Sunday, July 5, from 3 to 7 p.m., Islamorada-based Key Dives will host the third annual upcycling event in the Florida Keys Brewing Co’s beer garden. Scuba divers do good for the oceans by bringing in old wetsuits for recycling into cool yoga mats and other sustainable items.

“Wetsuits are awesome. They allow us to dive comfortably in waters we otherwise wouldn’t be able to,” said Cortney Benson, Key Dives’ marine conservation coordinator. “But, they definitely produce a lot of waste.”

Benson, the mastermind behind much of the dive shop’s conservation efforts, came up with the idea for the “Wetsuit Wrangle” three years ago as a way to reduce some of the waste from the sport she loves.

“The idea behind the Wetsuit Wrangle is to make a big effort annually to recycle all old, unusable wetsuits in the Upper Keys,” she said, “and, we are going to reward you for recycling with free beer and great prizes from some of our favorite eco-conscious companies!”

In 2019, the Wrangle collected 185 wetsuits from around the Upper Keys. Key Dives worked with other local shops to collect the old wetsuits before the event, and then capstoned it with a fun afternoon at the brewery, full of music, eco-conscious products, art and, of course, beer.

Benson noted that coronavirus would likely result in fewer wetsuits this year, but she still hopes to surpass 100.

The wetsuits will be sent to New Jersey-based Lava Rubber, a company upcycling wetsuits and other “hard to manage scrap goods” like gaskets, weather stripping, compression sleeves, aluminum juice pouches and yoga pants into durable, upcycled yoga mats and other guilt-free goodies.

Each mat saves valuable “waste” from entering a landfill, Lava Rubber boasts.

For Benson, the business and fun of conservation is a part of everything she does.

Each wetsuit brought in for recycling at the Wrangle is good for one beer (limit one per person) and one raffle ticket (no limit). Raffle prizes include sustainable items from Sand Cloud, Stream2Sea, Lava Rubber and Key Dives.

“There’s a lot to love about this event,” Benson said. “We couldn’t do it without the Florida Keys Brewing Co. being so supportive of our conservation efforts. Together, we are helping to protect the environment while drinking delicious beer and supporting our local economy.”

Fun with Waste: Virtual Safari fundraiser for waste collection in low income countries

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WasteAid has created a Virtual Safari into the Kenyan wilderness, an immersive experience with science, culture, art, cookery and lots of wildlife to help lift spirits, and to raise money for waste collectors in low-income countries.

The safari route is around Lake Naivasha in Kenya, where WasteAid is working with local partners to improve waste collection and recycling. It says the entire 75-kilometre route is equivalent to 100,000 steps or 1,000 minutes exercise.

WasteAid is an independent, non-profit United Kingdom charity set up by waste management professionals to share practical and low-cost waste management know-how with communities in low-income countries.

Zoë Lenkiewicz, Head of Programmes and Engagement at WasteAid, said: “We wanted to create something for people to escape into and enjoy, while raising money for our urgent appeal ‘Waste Collectors Rock!’

“The communities around Lake Naivasha, especially those working with waste, are in poverty and vulnerable to disease – yet at the same time, they are surrounded by all this incredible wildlife. We thought it would be fun to support waste collectors in places like this, by sharing the beauty and wonder of the environment they work so hard to protect.”

Fun with Waste: Recycling Quizzes

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There are a number websites that have offer recycling quizzes to test your knowledge.  If you score 100% on the quizzes below, you are a true waste management professional and should be proud of yourself.

 

 

Fun with Waste: Five fun activities to teach your children about plastic pollution

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In response to recent world events that have resulted in more people spending time at home, the United Nations Environment Programme has come up with some ideas that parents and guardians can do with their children to teach them about the plastic pollution problem.

Idea 1: make a musical instrument out of plastic rubbish

Every year 8 million tonnes of plastic waste enters our oceans. In 2018, Shady Rabab from Egypt won the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) prestigious Young Champion of the Earth Award for spotting an opportunity to get children off the streets and stop plastic from being wasted. He started the Garbage Conservatoire, touring with his band of children and their instruments made from plastic pollution showing the world that it’s not waste, until its wasted.

Encourage your children to use (clean) plastic rubbish to make their own instruments. They can even put on a concert for you or for social media. Click here to get some inspiration for the instruments you could make.

Idea 2: go through your cupboards and sort its content, like utensils, etc. into the type of material they are made of

Every day we use lots of plastic products without thinking about their impact on the planet. Go into your kitchen cupboards with your child and ask them to sort everything into the type of material (plastics, cardboard, aluminum, etc.) Ask your children to pick out the items that can be recycled and show them where on the packaging they can see if its recyclable or not. The United Nations Environment Programme Clean Seas educational pack can help to show children in greater detail what different types of plastic are out there, and ways that they can reduce their use of them.

Idea 3: have a plastic-free spa day

You might not be able to go out to a spa, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the spa to you! From baby wipes to scrubs with microplastics in (plastic pieces smaller than 5 mm), plastic is hidden in plain sight in many personal care products. Here you can see some of the sources of plastic pollution in your bathroom. A great way to combat hidden plastics is to have a do-it-yourself family home spa day. You can show your children how to make great natural scrubs from coconut oil, sugar and salt, and you can also make face masks from honey and bananas. Make some home treatments, put on some calming music, and relax.

Idea 4: make a boat out of plastic waste.

Many things that seem like soon-to-be trash can be given a fun new lease of life. Using plastic that you might otherwise throw away, help your child to make a small plastic raft or boat. They can put them in the bath or sink to see if they float and even take their toys on a boat ride! If possible, you could even take them to your local pond or stream and have raft races.

Flipflopi boat made from waste plastic

A recent Clean Seas campaign took part in this activity on a larger scale. A nine-metre long dhow made from 10 tonnes of recycled trash found on Kenya’s shorelines called “Flipflopi” sailed from Lamu, Kenya to Zanzibar raising awareness about plastic pollution.

Idea 5: put on a fashion show of clothes made out of rubbish

Upcycling—or “making new furniture, objects, etc. out of old or used things or waste material”—is one of the best fashion trends for the environment. In 2016, American Rob Greenfield wore every piece of trash he created in a month, turning it into a bulky trash-suit. Why not get your child to make some stylish fashion accessories out of plastic waste? They can put on a fashion show for you with their new creations!

There are many more ways that you can teach your children about plastic pollution and its impacts. UNEP’s Clean Seas website has advice for how to reduce your plastic footprint, and the impact that plastic pollution is having.

Fun with Waste: Enviro Kids Camp

The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador offers a summer camp for kids called “Enviro Kids“. The summer camp activities are designed to engage children aged 5-8 years in environmental learning in a fun and interactive way. 

The camp includes opportunities for kids to discover the natural world and help protect our planet. In this fun-filled week, Enviro-Kids embarks on a journey of fun games and activities as they explore the 3Rs and composting. Camp participants also enjoy nature hikes, educational games, arts and crafts and discover the secret to organic magic.