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Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

What happens when you mix the philosophy of Habitat for Humanity with the material hunting skills of a freegan?

Dan Phillips, an inspiration, a visionairy and an upcycler!

You get Dan Philips, founder of Phoenix Commotion, an amazing upcycling based construction company who not only salvages landfill waste and turns it into sustainable, affordable, energy-efficient, one-of-a-kind houses for single mothers, artists and low-income families, but also teaches valuable and sustainable construction skills to volunteers who help him.

This guy is truly a Sexy Upcycling Hero and I HIGHLY recommend his inspiring Ted Talk. Not to mention, his work is phenomenal and he has a great Flickr filled with pictures of his work.

In his Ted Talk, Phillips breaks down why there is so much waste coming from construction and the housing industry and bases it off of psychological presumptions that we build in our head from the day we are born. He points out that we need to see things in repetition in order to create a pattern, but with waste material, it’s very hard for us to create a pattern since “Trees don’t grow 2 x 4″; 8, 10 and 12′ tall”. So instead of just letting the excess material go to waste, he creates patterns of flaws that unifies whatever it is that he is constructing, which psychologically creates something desirable. While showing a picture of a beautiful house that he made, he wittily states that “There are bulges, pokes and sags [in his work and] if that ruins your life, you shouldn’t live there”.

Some highlights of his work include decorative architectural buttons made from bondo filled eggs, “lumpy tiles” made from smashed toilets, a doormat made from a chunk of wood and some bottle caps turned upside-down, roofing shingles made from retired license plates and my favorite, a deadbolt lock made from the fence of a 1930’s wood shaper.

Functional and freegan, this doormat might be the next thing I make from retired materials

Phillips uses retired lisence plates as roofing shingles, awesome, functional upcyling at its finest!

A 1930's Wood Shaping Fence is now a fucntioning deadbolt lock, I WANT THIS

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I nearly died when I saw this video from our broken umbrella upcycling friends at Recycling Zychal. The video chronicles a black pug named Hurley, who as once afraid of the rain, and how he learned to love rainy walks once he got one of Recycling Zychal’s famous Upcycled Umbrella Dog Rain Coats. It kind of reminds me of an eco-friendly version of Run Spot Run!

And if you are a cat person like me, you can help reduce your cat’s carbon paw print by purchasing one of these super cute Organic Cat Nip Filled Kitty Toys that help raise money for City Kitties Cat Rescue in West Philadelphia, because lets face it: If your cat is going to destroy something, it might as well be GREEN!

$1 from each cat toy purchase goes to City Kitties Cat Rescue in West Philadelphia!

You can purchase Recycling Zychal’s Upcycled Umbrella products on their Etsy store, as well as in Center City Philadelphia at Just Dogs Gourmet on Chestnut Street!

Quick side note: Recycling Zychal is also participating in America Recycles Day by launching a month long initiative to collect broken umbrellas from people all over the country. The difference is that between 11/15 and 12/13, the folks at Recycling Zychal will be making a special limited edition present crafted from the very broken umbrella donated for everyone who donates a broken umbrella to them as a thank you for participating in America Recycles Day. I’ve been given the insiders scoop on what the special present will be, but I’m trying to keep my lips tight!

To donate your broken umbrella or for more info, please go to the Donate A Broken Umbrella page on their website!

To read more about Recycling Zychal’s America Recycles Day Event, head on over to their blog!

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Crater Lake Oregon, sign me up.

It’s no secret that I really want to move to Oregon someday. Why, with it being so close to Canada, the beautiful natural surroundings, the abundance of bearded men, incredible and solid biking community (their last naked bike ride had over 13,000 people), meat eaters being the minority and beer brewing in just about anyone’s kitchen on any given night, how could I not want to go?! It sounds like the sweetest place on earth, sorry Hershey Park.

I’m going to come right out and say it: The Whole State of Oregon is the new Brooklyn.


The other thing about Oregon is that everyday, I see more and more DIY, handmade and of course, my favorite, upcycled products coming from in or around Portland and Eugene, and so when I found out about the Resurrected Refuse Action Team, I can’t say that it necessarily surprised me that they were from Eugene, I kind of expected it, especially after I saw this guy’s awesome mountain man beard in the video for the Green Bag:

Well hey! If this guy approves, you know its good!

These guys and gals are really up to something! RRAT’s video for the Bike Bag starts off with a question I ask just about everyone, “Are you sick and tired of buying products made with new materials?” YES! WE ARE, well I am, and so’s alot of other people!


Using packing ties and bicycle inner tubes, you can make yourself a Jar Packer or just straight up buy one already made. DIY and Upcycling, you had me at hello! RRAT also offers a great reusable and extremely durable Green Market Bag, a Luxury Waste Basket, Bike baskets and panniers all made out of thrown out shipping ties, some clever engineering and love.

Their Cubic Pal Storage Bin is also indestructible and has been tested and proven indestructible via their youtube. It's a must see if you ask me.

RRAT also has workshops where you can learn to make these awesome products yourself, seriously guys, you’re taking the awesomeness that you’ve already established and pushing it to the next level! DIY and Upcycling- I love it!

Besides working exclusively with woven shipping ties, they also sell plans to make a Build-it-Yourself Icosa Hut on their website, it looks pretty intense. I know a few folks around here that would love to make one of these!

The view from inside one of RRAT's Icosa Hut. I want one, unfortunately, this hut is probably bigger than my apartment. Oh, city living!

Beards, beers, nature, upcycling, it really can't get much better than this. Viva Eugene Oregon!

I highly suggest checking out RRAT’s website and maybe picking up a few goodies. They offer pretty sweet deals when you buy more than one product, so get one for you and your friend. I’m definitely ordering a Jar Packer DIY Kit, for $5 how can I not!?

The best thing about this group is that they are really going out there and making Upcycling awesome and for that, I salute you! Rock on RRAT!


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Clothing upcycling of the past.. and please let it stay there!

We’ve all seen our share of typical upcycled clothing, most of which looks like it walked/crawled straight out of Burning Man- if I’m being too vague, let me paint the picture of corduroy and flannel patchwork ankle length skirts, demin jeans somehow made into a t-shirt fused by, what I can only imagine to be Duct Tape. No disrespect to the freegan community, but come on, “Where da style at?”

This super stylish jacket is made from textile waste, but you'd never know! 😀

That’s where the geniuses at Looptworks come in. Based out of Oregon, Looptworks pairs limited edition, quality and fashionable designs up with the unending stream of textile waste that manufacturing companies don’t like to talk about- the result is probably the hottest clothing line I’ve ever seen, regardless that it was made from waste, and THAT, my friends is what Sexy Upcycling is all about: The fusion of Taste and Waste!

Looptworks Upcycled Wet Suit Laptop Case, I'm lovin' it!

While boasting veteran designers with years of experience working for Nike and Adidas, you can definitely see the sportswear influence on their Fall 2010 line. They assure their customers that no new material (pre-consumer waste, so it was never even worn) was used in making the garment and limit each design to a maximum of 500 pieces, all of which are hand numbered.

The Pasar Woman's Jacket made from 100% Industrial Excess from Looptworks!

From the Looptworks website: “We have a unique process to create unique products,” says Gary Peck, co-founder of Looptworks. “From concept to your closet, we can assure you that no new materials were used to create our clothing and that each item is as individual as the person who wears it.”

The Satu Jacket- this would work wonders for me while broken umbrella rescuing!

Currently, there are no strores hosting Looptworks extremely eco-friendly line on the East Coast, but you can change that! If you are a store that would like to carry Looptworks product line, you can get information on becoming a dealer by visiting the Store Location tab on their webpage!

Once I get my bonus from work, I’m probably going to buy one of everything- Freeganista, here I come!

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High Quality Upcycling from Tesco and From Somewhere- Treehugger

Tesco teams up with From Somewhere to take upcycling to the masses

UK’s Goodone shows off their high quality upcycled AW10 Collection

Upcycled umbrella goods company takes us behind the scenes of a product photoshoot

Cathy Newbery restores and improves unwanted bric-a-brac

Green Pop Up Shop in NYC sets out to be the largest upcycling center in honor of Earth Day

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It’s no secret that we love bikes over here at Sexy Upcycling, as you could probably tell when we posted our spirited article about Julien Jaborska‘s awesome reclaimed tire belts a few weeks ago. From Seattle all the way across the Atlantic, we’ve found yet another upcycler who loves bike parts.. AND air mattresses.

i.D. Tube iPod/mp3 player case by KaWeDe

Using equal amounts of stylish graphic and product design, German Design Studio, KaWeDe takes regular upcycling to a whole new level. We love their use of bright, colorful interior linings and super clean photos.

Coin purses made from screenprinted bicycle tubes and lined with bright colorful fabric from KaWeDe

We also loved this key hook made from tire nozzles.

Schlüsselbrett mit Fahrradventilen by KaWeDe keeps your keys in check

KaWeDe’s BuKo Cosmetic Bags are made from an air mattress and can be customized to your liking, approximately 26 x 21 cm.

BuKo Cosmetic Bags by KaWeDe are customizable and made from an old air mattress!

The BUKos can be crafted and stamped with old stamps from biology class. The variations are similar in principle – but each copy is unique and may vary.

BuKo Cosmetic Bag with stamped fish mde from an air mattress

Other products include lanyards, key chains, bike valve magnets and bracelets.

Currently we can only find KaWeDe’s Upcycled Goods on DeWanda which is like an Etsy Store for Europe, but it’s still worth checking out! We hope KaWeDe goes worldwide with their super Sexy Upcycled goods.

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It seems like in the world of industrial and product design, everyone is trying to reinvent the shopping cart, but for Cross Media Visual Designer Ramon Coronado, he sees the foundation for a line of extremely modern and stylish furniture.

LA's shopping carts get a second life as a stylish furniture line thanks to Ramon Coronado, my new Sexy Upcycling Hero!

Besides being a new Sexy Upcycling Icon for his creative use of  the well known L.A. shopping carts , Ramon said that he wanted to design something that”commented on the shortage of parks and recreational functions in Los Angeles.”

Swing made from an upcycled shopping cart gives the children of MacArthur Park in LA something fun and safe to do

This came about after Ramon had unknowingly moved from a small neighborhood in an everybody-knows-everybody town called Cathedral City, to a very dangerous, low income area across from MacArthur Park. Observing the over-population of homeless people and overwhelming amount of trash, with busted shopping carts on just about every corner, he got the idea to start the Mercado Negro project; Mercado Negro translating into Black Market.

Functional, stylish, modern furniture made from a shopping cart, by Ramon Coronado

Check out some of Ramon’s awesome process shots:

This is like an upcyclers version of washing the oil from baby ducks after an oil spill, getting them back to square one and a 2nd chance!

Ramon Coronado used a heat gun to soften the plastic of the shopping cart to form it into a seat

Be sure to check out all of Ramon’s other cool design work by visiting his website, hopefully he will continue to make more Sexy Upcycled Icons!

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