Street Use

Recyle Surprises

Cuban Motor Bike


What an elegant design. A wonderfully sleek bicycle is given a motor  and gas tank in Cuba to make a motor bike.

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A close up view with annotations shows a different home-made motor bike in Cuba, collected by Ernesto Oroza. The detail of the soda bottle gas tank is wonderful. This design uses the motor’s rotor to directly power the tire.

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Posted on January 24, 2008 at 5:58 pm | comments


Re-Invented Objects


That’s what Cuban artist and researcher Ernesto Oroza calls these “inventions of neccessity.” For eight years he has collected everyday objects crafted from discards, and re-purposed technology found in Cuba. Where purchased goods are in short supply, people fix their own. He’s shown these re-invented objects in several exhibitions. For instance, here is a razor made with the blade and a pencil.

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Or a fan blade repaired with a piece of vinyl record.

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There are others. Check out this set of chairs constructed from broken plastic chairs given a new rebar skeleton. 

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Many of Oroza’s objects were photographed and collected into a booklet called No Waste, which was publshed by Pentagram and is now out of print (available in a handful of libraries).

Posted on at 5:33 pm | comments


Plastic Bottle Chandeliers


This is all I know: English-Russia says “These days in some parks of St. Petersburg you can meet chandeliers made of used plastic bottles..”

Posted on September 18, 2007 at 12:55 pm | comments


Cardboard Bridge and Paper Shelters


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A bridge made of cardboard tubes. (First noticed on here.) It’s more of an artpiece than utiltarian structure. Think rain and snow.

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However the architect, Shigeru Ban, has built many utilitarian structures using low tech cardboard tubes. Protected inside an outer membrane, the tubes keep their strength and preform magnificently. For example,

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This is a paper theater built in Amsterdam, Holland in 2003.

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This one is a Japanese pavilion built for an Expo in Hannover in 2000.

Posted on July 31, 2007 at 7:42 pm | comments


Bubble Wrap Lace Curtains


Recycled hi-tech lace curtains. “Seen a few days ago in Cork, Ireland: a sensible use for all that bubble-wrap.” Submitted by Tom Raworth.

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Posted on July 16, 2007 at 5:27 pm | comments


Baby Carriage Mobile Vendor


Reader David Sarpal writes: “My sister is visiting Colombia right now and she happened upon a street vendor who has arrived at an ingenious re-use of a baby carriage as a street vendor.”

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Posted on June 22, 2007 at 7:42 pm | comments


Foam Hard Hat


This foam cushion tied to the worker’s head in India is reputedly a hard hat substitute. The picture is from this humor blog so I don’t know its veracity. It is much more likely a piece of padding to hauling iron pipes since the common way to transport heavy things in india is using the head/spine for support.
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Posted on June 12, 2007 at 2:57 pm | comments


Beer Bottle Solar Hot Water Heater


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According to the Internets, this Chinese farmer is getting hot shower water from this roof of beer bottles and plastic tubing. This version of the story was seen on Ananova (sent in by reader Arnaud Betremieux). The account says “I invented this for my mother. I wanted her to shower comfortably,” says Ma Yanjun, of Qiqiao village, Shaanxi province.Ma’s invention features 66 beer bottles attached to a board. The bottles are connected to each other [with plastic tubing] so that water flows through them.Sunlight heats the water as is passes slowly through the bottles before flowing into the bathroom as hot water, reports China Economy Network. Ma says it provides enough hot water for all three members of his family to have a shower every day.And more than 10 families in the village have already followed suit and installed their own versions of Ma’s invention.”

Posted on June 6, 2007 at 4:17 pm | comments


Tires Recycled Into Farm Tools


Chinese farms are the ultimate in thriftiness. Old tires are recycled into all kinds of useful gear. Here is a horse feed tub made from a tire turned inside out. I saw these everywhere.

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And here is a water bucket for dropping into a well sewn from old tires.

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Posted on May 13, 2007 at 6:23 am | comments


Styrofoam Peanuts Boats in China


These fishing rafts are made from chunks and pieces of styrofoam bundled into nets to form pontoons. The pieces are bigger than foam peanuts, but not much bigger. The rafts are about 12-15 feet in length. Their deck is made of bamboo, covered with mesh. Here they are stored against a wall.

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Posted on May 8, 2007 at 4:19 pm | comments