Green Design: Recycled Content and Innovation

There is so much talk about recycled content, pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content in the industry.  Post consumer content is any discarded item after people used it.  It is a great time to start thinking out of the box and start seeing other great uses for our discarded items.  I recently created a small sculpture installation for PS151 of recycled car parts and discarded cinder blocks for their 9/11 memorial garden.  There are a lot of other people that are also thinking out of the box, here are some examples of what has been done:

WNYC covered an artist that collects broken umbrellas and recycles them into innovative reusable items such as clothing, handbags and much more. Check out the article and images of some of her designs at the following link.

In the UK a company has developed a product from recycled materials and also has an educational base to it.  They produce school supplies, such a pencil cases with saying such as "I used to be a car tire".  They are coming up with more innovative products for the outdoors, clothing and bags.  Check them out at

Other artists are taking on these challenges and creating art from our discarded garbage.  One local artist is Janet Nolan.  She creates artwork from post-consumer items such as discarded umbrellas, wire coat hangers, plastic bottle caps and much more.  Check out her art work at

Here in the US we need to start making headway with products made from post-consumer materials. Creating them to be innovative in design, massed produced or having items recycled into artwork.  These are but a few examples of what can be done.  We need to start looking outside the box in ways to reuse items and keeping them out of our landfills.  As we look into what we can do with these unwanted materials, we also need to realize that they need to be produced locally.  Take the next step and start using your creativity and imagination to help our environment.

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