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Tip of the Week #9: Upcycle: the treasure in your trash

by Dan Croitoru on 30th November, 2010 at 3:37 PM CEST

Did you know that a kilo of wheat takes 1 cubic meter of water to grow from sowing to harvest and one ton of rice consumes around 1,400 m3. What about that pair of jeans you like? About 11,000 liters. The t-shirt you are wearing right now? About 4,000 liters. Does that make you think twice about throwing it away because it is no longer trendy? 

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As prof. Dr. Lucka Kajfež Bogataj mentioned in her article in The Future Book: ‘An individual product’s carbon content is the total amount of carbon dioxide emitted from every stage of its production and distribution, from source to store. This is also known as “virtual carbon”, “embedded carbon”, or “the carbon footprint”. In the case of water, “virtual water” is the volume of fresh water used to manufacture a product, summed up over the various steps of the production chain.’ We strive so much to save energy and water, to reduce our carbon footprint. Yet, we tend to overlook the most fundamental principle when it comes to sustainability – waste less.  

Personally, I have been trying out all the tips from Lila on how to save water, from using less water when flushing the toilet to using a cup when toothbrushing. But I’m afraid that all the water I saved these weeks is not even close to how much VIRTUAL WATER I have wasted when I throw out household garbage (consumed or wasted).  This week’s TOW, we challenge you to find another job for something you would normally throw away. This process is often called upcycling - converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

Need some ideas to start your own upcyled works of art? (Thanks Maggie Peng for the next suggestions) 

Check out this super hip wall art/organizer made out of tin cans.

How about this funky coin holder?

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Put your creativity to the test and come up with your own upcycled item. Who said being sustainable is not fun?

Do you have any other ideas or you want to show us some of your creations? Use the comment box below and let the whole world know!



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Tip of the Week #4: Time to Bleed

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Damjan Obal

Damjan Obal

Indeed, your garbage is a treasure full of artsy materials. I have just been (partly) involved in an amazing collaborative art project called Biomodd ( where people build whole new ecosystems out of old computers. There is also tons of other stuff you could do with stuff. Another funny piece of recycled art that landed in our living room rlisica/4703987266/in/set-7215 7623326752002/ :) Cowabunga!

1st December, 2010 @ 9:29 AM CEST

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