Posted by Christine on Dec 21 2010
“Reduce, reuse, recycle.” How many times have you heard that slogan? It is what we try to do at Bike Recycle Vermont – “recycle” is in the name, after all. We’re pretty conscious about what we save and what we throw out, trying to keep our environmental impact and budget low.
But while recycling our waste may be a better alternative than sending it straight to the landfill, the recycling process still takes an incredible amount of energy and resources. We have two bins in the shop designated for metal recycling, and they fill up about once a month. Before we cart them off to Chittenden Solid Waste, I look at the cables, sprockets, shifters, and other parts spilling over the side of the bins, and I think, “there’s gotta be something better in your future, shifter cable.”
It is with more emphasis on the “reduce, reuse,” end of the slogan that we introduce the concept of “upcycling” in Bike Recycle Vermont’s Upcycling Workshop/Bike Craft Circle series. Upcycling is, according to Wikipedia, “the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” This means we take old, broken bike parts and give them new lives as wind chimes, bracelets, and more.
Some impromptu upcycling sessions and the creativity of volunteers has yielded tire belts, tube purses and wallets, toilet paper holders made from forks, chain link earrings, spoke bracelets, and more. I’m currently working on a chandelier made from two different sized wheels that are taco’d beyond repair, using cogs to make lampshades and stringing chain links around the perimeter of the rims for decoration.
It seems like a novelty, but the kicker is that many of the items are totally functional and useful! Each item is proof that it just takes a little bit of time and resourcefulness to save things from the dump and make something special.
I’ll be running upcycling workshops in January on Thursday nights from 6PM to 8PM at Bike Recycle Vermont. These are both workshops and craft circles. There will be a short demo where I show how to make a particular item. People may choose to use the remainder of the time either make the item from the demo or play with bike parts and fashion something from their own imagination. People can also work on a project of their own, feeling free to harvest materials from our metal recycling bins. Check out Local Motion’s event calender to find out what I’ll be demonstrating each workshop .
Have any ideas for items to be made? Let us know!
We’re hoping that with increased volunteer upcycling and consistent workshops, we may be able to produce enough goods to sell at the summer artist’s market, in the shop, or on the Local Motion website in order to benefit our programs. If you’d like to get your craft on to benefit Bike Recycle Vermont, please contact Christine at (802) 264-9687 or email Christine@localmotion.org
a spoke bracelet, made by former Americorps*VISTA, Dan Hock
A business card holder made from a spoke, a length of chain, and two cable ends.
The beginnings of my chandelier, to be wired later today!
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