One of the coolest things to come out of the recycling movement is the growing effort to repurpose materials–that is, to take unwanted stuff and turn it into chic, eco-modern products that look great while easing the burden on the environment.
Companies are increasingly catching on to the repurposing trend and are starting to put out all kinds of wonderful things from artwork to accessories, making clear that garbage can be made beautiful once again. Here are a few examples:
Vintage Belt Floor Mat by TING studios, UK.
This incredibly innovative and beautiful circular floor mat is made out of unwanted vintage leather belts that have been, in vendor Branch’s words, “rescued on their way from waist to waste.” The textured patina reminds you of a wooden floor, but one with the warmth of supple leather. The belts are pasted on a backing of reconstituted leather. Each mat is individually handmade, obviously with different belts, so each mat is totally different from any other. You pay for the handmade, unique nature of the mat as it’s clearly not cheap. But for someone who can afford it, this mat would look gorgeous next to your bed, ready for your feet as you get up in the morning.
How about wearing the remains of an 18-wheeler? That’s exactly what Heather English, owner of English Retreads in Boulder, CO would have you do with this beautiful
“Bentley” messenger bag and others like it, all of which are made out of recycled rubber. She produces bags and belts from discarded truck and tractor tire inner tubes originally destined for landfills. The tubes likely had tens of thousands of miles of use before finding another life as gorgeous accessories like this bag–perfectly suited for books, a laptop, or even gym clothes. The 1 1/2″ wide shoulder strap is none other than a seat belt that itself has been repurposed, and is fully adjustable and detachable. The bag also comes with a handle, inside pocket, and two adjustable spring hook closures in front.
Recycled Confetti Small Clutch by Ecoist.
This flashy clutch purse will make you the center of attention at any bar or cocktail party. Designed by Ecoist, it reflects the designer’s intention to merge chic, stylish design principles with environmental consciousness in products that are functionally beautiful and make a powerful statement. This clutch is made from 100% recycled, hand folded candy wrappers! Despite its humble origins it is strong, sturdy, and water resistant. It zips shut and has a detachable wristlet. Don’t forget to take this with you the next time you’re out on the town!
Have you seen other beautiful repurposed items? Leave a comment or contact me about them and I’ll feature them in future installments.