Old Becomes New
By Jerry Brownstein
We live on a finite planet, yet we use its resources as if they were infinite. Every type of manufactured product from the smallest container to the largest vehicle has built-in obsolescence. That means it will one day be scrapped, and we will need to replace it with a new one. The mountains of plastic in our seas and landfills, plus the cars, clothes and everything else that we throw away, are a testament to this culture of waste... and it is growing. The population of the world has doubled in just 50 years, from 4 billion in 1973 to 8 billion today. More people, creates more waste, and more depletion of our natural resources. Fortunately, there are those who are working to turn this around by changing the way we think about our “throwaway culture”.
Two of the most important things that we can do to help make this change are recycling and upcycling. Both of these processes have a positive impact on the environment by reusing materials instead of throwing them away. Of course we all have an idea of how recycling works. Waste items are broken down into their basic compounds so that they can be reused to make new products. Paper is shredded and turned into useful pulp, plastic is separated so it can be melted into reusable pellets, and glass is smashed so it can become new glass.Upcycling, on the other hand, does not destroy the product. It takes something that is considered waste, and gives it a second life or a new function.
A simple example is a pallet coffee table. Upcycling transforms a used pallet into a lovely piece of furniture. This is why it is called “up” cycling because it increases the value of the item. There are people right here on Ibiza who are doing wonderful work in these areas. Carla Silva runs Mimos Project, which specializes in upcycling furniture and fixtures in all areas of the home. Her passion is modernizing and giving a new life to pieces that are old or worn out. Using ecological sustainable products and a variety of techniques, she can magically transform the old into the new: furniture, bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, doors, gates and much more. All it takes is a bit of imagination and a little work, to turn an old cabinet, table or chair into something that is attractive and useful. Sometimes just a different colour of paint will do the trick. Carla also hosts interactive workshops to show people how to do these things for themselves.
Maximiliano Juárez gives new life to empty glass bottles at his cleverly named upcycling project “Another Round”. Recycling a bottle to create a new one consumes almost as much energy as making it with new glass. Max realized that it is more energy efficient to transform the old bottles into beautiful new products, and that is the idea behind Another Round.
He is developing an array of tasteful upcycled items that includes glasses, jars, plates, bowls, vases, lamps, candle holders, and more. For commercial clients he will collect their empty bottles, and transform them into products that are suited for use in that particular business. Tourists and locals will be able to purchase all of the Another Round upcycled creations on their website: www.anotherround.world
Studio Rethink Ibiza takes recycling of plastic to another level in their Plústic Lab. They not only break down plastic waste, but also transform it into new things that are valuable and unique. Giada Forneris and Gianpaolo Passaretti do the entire process from beginning to end: collecting, separating, cleaning, shredding and creating the new items.
They collaborate with companies, restaurants, hotels, shops and local residents who give them plastic that would otherwise be thrown away.
Plústic Lab uses high-tech equipment including a 3D printer, a laser cutter and a milling machine. They also have a low-tech converted bicycle that shreds plastic as you pedal. The end results are a variety of amazing creations including jewellery, coasters, flower pots, lamps, furniture and even a children’s playground. Plústic Lab has been given several awards for their work, and they continue to pursue their goal: “To gradually change the planet, with no limit other than our own imagination.” It is an intention that is shared by all of the people who are devoted to making a difference in the ecology of Ibiza.
Online shop and more information: www.plusticlab.com