Upcycling: Turning waste into goods

by John Stapel

Among other things, I spent today making two self-watering plant pots. In doing so I simultaneously solved two other problems, namely

  1. The problem of empty 2L soda bottles that need to be stored and eventually taken to the recycling center.
  2. The problem of having too many t-shirts thanks to participating in events, promotional t-shirts from ordering stuff, etc. which in turn have to be taken to a donation container (very hard to find in California).

These two problems can be solved by turning them into self-watering plant containers. This solves the additional problem of remembering to water our plants — if we forget, the plants whither in a couple of days. Obviously, it also solves the problem of having to buy containers.

I followed these instructions for making the pot. I used gasoline to get the sticker off the soda bottle. I had to spend $5 on a can of green rustenol spray paint (should be good for many more containers). I cut the bottles with a pair of plate snippers and ruffed them with a random piece of sandpaper.

In other news, I cut up a pair of pizza boxes to cover the soil of some larger pots to prevent evaporation. A fraction of our trash (like newspaper printed ads, the other ads, I dump straight into the recycling bin unread on my way from the mailbox, talk about waste!) and vegan food already go to the worm farm, which turn it into supreme fertilizer.

This is upcycling: Turning apparent waste into better products, like turning empty beer cans into a heating panel or a camping stove.

Leave your own good ideas for upcycling in the comments.

Originally posted 2009-08-03 23:44:57.