Turning Trash into Treasure: Recycling Landfill Waste into Classical Instruments

Image Courtesy Of: http://upcycleus.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/upcycling-light-bulb.html

Image Courtesy Of: http://upcycleus.blogspot.co.uk/2011/08/upcycling-light-bulb.html

I love up-cycling.  Whole days of my life have been spent scouring the web for such design ideas.  Ways to take those things we discard and redefine their purpose – making them ever more useful and meaningful.  I picture my first apartment being furnished using only shipping crates and oil drums, or something else as industrial and unsystematic.  I’m unsure why, but in my eyes true that’s beauty.

It’s a type of recycling.  One that demands greater creativity.  It’s not about putting a plastic bottle in the proper bin so that it can be made into…a plastic bottle.  Or paying a premium for designer jeans made from other old jeans.  Instead it takes the inconsequential items of everyday use and transforms them to have value.  Cardboard boxes into living room furniture, wine-corks into herringbone picture frames, shipping containers into office buildings, and vintage suitcases into bedroom dressers; I could get carried away, but wont.

Image Courtesy of: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/articles/containers.htm

Image Courtesy of: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/articles/containers.htm

While in Sweden the other day I had this thought.  I’m not sure what inspired it, but here it is:

“To often do we mistake a lack of creativity for a lack of resources”

I’m certain that I’m not the first person to have considered this.  However, reflecting it against my own experiences has lead me to believe it wholly true.  With one piece of rope a person can tie over 200 nautical purposed knots.  Anything can be fixed with duck-tape.  And no matter what is invented, or subject is so obsessively explored, something different is always unrealized and possible.  Simply put, the only obstacles to creativity are the ones we wrongly believe exist.

I’m fully aware that this message may be lost coming from me.  Not once in my life have I ever experienced a lack of resources.  Even at those times where I have made the most out of the least, it was never truly out of necessity.  I always had a safety net.  So, please, don’t discredit this simply because of who is sharing it – instead judge it against your own experiences.

Image Courtesy of: http://inhabitat.com/peppermint-products-makes-modern-furniture-from-cardboard/

Image Courtesy of: http://inhabitat.com/peppermint-products-makes-modern-furniture-from-cardboard/

On Facebook earlier today I came across a very inspirational video.  It documented how a slum in Paraguay has been up-cycling landfill trash into classical instruments – allowing the town’s children to learn and play classical music.  These people have nothing, and with that are making something.  Instead of consoling with hopelessness, they are finding new ways to tie that one piece of rope.

In my mind – after watching this – all the complaints I’ve ever heard about American schools having underfunded art departments seem silly.  Because never, ever have we fully exploited our resources.  Here is the video:

“Money is often little more than an opportunity to think less”

I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

– Sepp

2 Comments

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