Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rethink | Refuse | Reuse : Foil Trays

Here's another super simple Rethink/Refuse/Reuse that you have no excuse not to be using at home. It requires no craftiness whatsoever and is just a simple matter of making the most of the resources that make their way through your life.

Some extremely eco-minded folks avoid takeout containers entirely (I've read accounts of brave people showing up at restaurants with their own reusable containers) but, I have to admit, I am not one of them. I cook a lot, but I like to treat myself to other people's cooking occasionally, and this usually happens when I just want the easiest solution possible. So, like most people, I get my takeout in disposable containers.

It turns out that foil takeout trays fit perfectly in my toaster oven and make great mini roasting pans or cooking trays. I wouldn't buy them at the store, but if I have a few leftover from takeout orders, I wash them out and re-use a couple times. (Then if I cook something extra dirty or gunky, I can toss the container without too much guilt, since I already gave it a few more uses than it was originally intended for.) They are particularly suited for dishes you might want to make ahead, keep in the freezer, and bake later (mac and cheese, anyone?) - you can leave them in the freezer as long as you need to, and won't miss the containers like you would your favorite Pyrex baking dish.

(Bonus: the #6 clear plastic tops make great trays for paint or glue, for those of us with a crafty bent. And in one of my personal favorite little-known RePlayGround facts, they are made of the same material you'll find in Shrinky Dinks, so save them for a project!)

We can't be all green all the time - sometimes it's the little things that add up to big changes.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rethink hanger

The Rethink Hanger is a great reuse for your plastic bottles. It's gets you rethinking about disposable hangers. Simply screw 2 disposable plastic bottles onto the hanger and that's all there is to it. At $7.99 it's not exactly cheap. But rethinking disposable is the valuable lesson to hang your hat on here.

via Core77

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Upcycled Greeting Cards at Sustainable NYC

Just wanted to share a few pics from our workshop last week.

Amazing things were made from menus and paint chips...

Floor plans and scrap fabric...

And old gardening catalogs!

We also discovered that wine corks (rubber or cork) make pretty nifty rubber stamps. (Try them with fingerpaint or acrylic paint for the best results).

Do try this at home. Your loved ones will be thrilled to see what wonderful creations you can make from 'garbage'! Check out our Flickr page for a few more inspiring pics.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Rethink | Refuse | Reuse - lids

Here's another straight reuse coming at ya from our RePlayGround. Need a coaster? Simply flip over an old lid and voila. A free coaster and a fancy French word.

Part of the Rethink - Refuse - Reuse photo series. Showing easy, no-craftiness-necessary items that you can simply reuse rather than buy new.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sometimes it's ok to throw things away

I caught my lovely and talented friend Mama Spell performing her variety show at Otto's Shrunken Head a few weeks ago. We were talkin' trash after the show and discussing the benefits to reusing garbage and turning it into new. The discussion led to her friend who is a pack rat and never throws anything away. But also never really intends to use or reuse those items. Like stacks of newspapers. 3 broken printers. If they don't work now, they don't exactly heal themselves. Remember - when stuff is taking up space, that's wasting precious resources, too. Inspired, Mama wrote and recorded a rough of this totally sweet and trashy song - Garbage Song.

Love it!! Because if you can't reuse it, you just gotta let it go. If I accepted all of the trash that people offered me, I would have no room to move. And if I couldn't move, that would make my design projects pretty difficult to work on.

Everyone together now, "It's ok to throw things away. Not everything was meant to stay...."
It's catchy.

ps. If you're in the NYC area, let Mama put you under her laughing spell every Wednesday's at Ottos.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lovin' Recycling at Sustainable NYC

I know the new year is just a few days old, but holidays have a way of sneaking up on us. This Valentine's Day, wouldn't you like to give your significant other (or mom, or friend, or roommate, or pet) the kind of gift that shows the most love? You know I'm talking about handmade - and even better, handmade and upcycled.

Next Wednesday I'll be hosting the first installment of our 2010 monthly craft series at Sustainable NYC. I'm filling in for our fabulous Garbage Outreach Coordinator, Carly, while she's away, and showing you how to make creative and beautiful Valentine's Day cards from scrap paper, photos, old greeting cards and more.

Combining the templates from our ReMake It kits, artful garbage, and your imagination, we will be making recycled valentines day cards from the most unique and free materials already out there.
Suggested materials include: magazine pages, sheet music, snack wrappers, wine-cork rubber stamps, old metrocards and credit cards, maps, coloring book pages, newspaper...this list is endless! We'll bring plenty of materials to work with, and you can bring your own to give the project a real personalized touch.

We provide: templates, materials, space to create, and a crafty crowd.
You provide: personalized materials (optional! and anything goes - photos, scrap paper, old cards, ticket stubs, etc), and your imagination.
When: Wednesday, January 13th @ 6-7:30pm
Where: Sustainable NYC, 139 Ave A @ 9th st
Why: Because the love of your life will just melt at the sight of a handmade, recycled gift from you!
This event is great for kids, adults, artists, recycling junkies, and community members of all kinds.

Pre-registration is a MUST! Space limited to 10 people! To RSVP, email me at abby@replayground.com.

See you next Wednesday!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2009 RePlay

Woo hoo 2009! It's been a busy, trash-filled year. Here's a replay of all of the upcycling goodness that headed our way and we sent right back at-ya.

I started out full-force continuing with my Chief Design Junkieness to create loads of TerraCycle design projects.

By Earth Day, the Bronx Zoo had hired us for a month long eco-celebration and my RePlayGround crew headed up there to share their crafty upcycling skills. Kids (and adults, too) walked away with projects like the cereal box wallets, CD suncatchers, and more.

Earth Day also saw the premier of Garbage Moguls, which follows me and my TerraCycle friends on our trash-packed adventures. Even Oprah and Good Morning America took notice and recommended a watch.

I also signed a big, fancy book deal (well, as fancy as you can be with garbage anyway) at Sterling Publishing. Our book, ReMake It - over 100 projects from the stuff you usually scrap, will be hitting bookshelves in April 2011. We pushed on full-force this year and concepted, created, illustrated, and wrote instructions for over 100 do-it-yourself projects.

The superstar designer, Abby Kelly, landed on our RePlayGround just in time to help with all things book, kits, trash, and design. We're very lucky to have her talent, impeccable design style, and sense of humor around here where we look forward to creating more trashy goodness this year.

That's Carly on the left and Abby on the right

Carly Miller, our official Garbage Outreach Coordinator, continued with her overwhelming enthusiasm in demonstrating to others how to upcycle everything in your path. She headed up coordinating the big Bronx Zoo event plus birthday parties, bar mitzvahs and more. You can even catch her in person as she continues the Eco-Workshop series at Sustainable NYC in the East Village on the second Wednesday of every month. (except for a brief hiatus in January where Abby will be flexing her crafty skills).
And if you're interested in booking us for an event send an email our way.

The ReMake It recycling kits continued to sell like eco-hotcakes! They've even been picked up by Signals catalog and our friends over at Uncommon Goods. We're continuing to work with the goods people at Streamline to create the latest, greatest in ReMaking It. Keep your eyes peeled in 2010 for some new kits on their way. There will be projects with plastic bags, and some good old fashioned play-with-your-trash-type-games.

In addition to keeping up this blog, we also contributed our fair share of upcycling project goodness to our faves over at Craftzine, Ecouterre, and Planet Green.

This year we were also honored and blown away by the fantastic words featured in publications like the New York Times, Rachael Ray Magazine, Time Out New York, and many more.

More Garbage Moguls episodes were taped this year, so be sure to check out National Geographic Network in 2010 around Earth Day for a more episodes in the series - as we design our way out of garbage messes.

We wrapped up the year with a good ole fashioned ReMake the Holidays party on our RePlayGround. We drank up some good local brew sponsored by the Brooklyn Brewery. Since no good party is complete without a fun craft project, we showed party participants how to transform 6 Metrocards into this super-sweet holiday ornament.

Stay tuned to our website and blog as we continue to add, evolve and just generally upcycle everything in our path this year.
Happy 2009 and here's to an upcycled 2010!!!