Green Gatsby loves bringing you the best in UpCyclying— the re-purposing of waste into new objects. It’s different than Recycling in that the waste is kept in some semblance of it’s original form, not melted down and reformed. Read more here:Recycling vs Upcycling
. Most of what GG has shown you (a few examples below) is upcycling for practical purposes…home and garden solutions. or fashion and accessories
In addition to its practical manifestations, Upcycling has long existed within the art world, with collages and sculptures, mixed media works and photography all making use of reclaimed waste. It has been gaining traction of late, especially with unique conceptions reforming waste as well, as in some cases, an artist’s own tools.
Japanese artist Macaon uses soda and beer cans to create clever little sculptures. These vibrant animals and detailed sci-fi characters and robots are quite remarkable. And you thought your wizard staff or pyramid of beer cans was impressive? Think again, bro.
Lionel Bawden’s series of sculptures is made out sliced and stacked Staedtler colored pencils. The re-imagination of the medium is such an ingenious play, and the resulting work is captivating. There is an almost devotional sense, with totemic shapes and mandala-like patterns. The fluctuations affected by Bawden and the draped designs are gorgeous on their own and become all the more clever when inspected and the medium revealed.
Sandhi Schimmel Gold has made a splash in the art world with her funky collages constructed entirely out of shredded junk mail. These vibrant and emotive portraits mirror the advertising images they are constructed out of. As Schimmel Gold says of her intention: “I create a new image of beauty – an eclectic and tactile portrait redrawn and reworked in my imagination, utilizing materials that would otherwise go to waste.” She also does commissioned portraits as well as portraits of famous musicians and actors. You can see her site here.
If you’re not planning on turning your junk mail into works of art, there are still ways you can keep from contributing to the dismal fact above. Here are some tips on Opting Out
on junkmail. Upcycling is fantastic, but the more you can say no to one time use items in the first place (especially flimsy items like straws, to-go cups and lids, single serving water bottles and the glossy print of junk mail) the less waste there will be and the less petro-chemicals and paper needed. Reduce–Reuse (upcycle)–Recycle!