Turning household waste into sustainable designs for interiors

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When speaking about sustainable designs, a lot has to do with materials.

Less harmful materials are created.
By-products are given a purpose.
Waste is upcycled.

Looking at materials impartially is a skill to be learnt though, as our preconceptions over materials can hinder their potential!
Today, we’re focusing on materials that are commonly thrown into household recycling bins. Even though this action marks the end of one of their lives, this doesn’t mean they can’t have more…

Paper

Letters, newspapers, leaflets…everyday life is full of paper. But when wet, paper trash takes on a paste-like consistency that can easily be moulded into décor pieces and furniture.

The end products retain an interesting crumpled look that adds plenty of texture.

Some recycled paper interior products from SforSustainable:

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Credit: Chartam
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Credit: Officine Tamborrino

Glass

Glass bottles and jars are a common packaging material for household goods. Glass is also a great material when it comes to recycling, as it can be reused over and over without any quality loss.

Trashed glass can be melted and re-shaped into attractive forms that are worth displaying. Alternatively, glass bottles can be cut and painted. This turns them into a décor piece while keeping them mainly as-is, in a somehow provocative act of upcycling.

Some recycled glass interior products from SforSustainable:

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Credit: Urban Nature Culture — Photo by Studio Bino
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Credit: Changing Atmosphere (via Debou)
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Credit: Ngwenya Glass

Cans & tins

Cans and tins are another common packaging material for food & beverages. And aluminium is another ideal candidate for recycling, being one of the few materials that don’t degrade in quality when reused.

In an Ugly Duckling-like transformation, uninteresting cans & tins have the potential to become design pieces — from chairs to coat hooks.

Some recycled aluminium interior products from SforSustainable:

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Credit: Emeco
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Credit: Essem Design

Plastic bottles

Despite being one of the most blamed materials, plastic can be reused in several different ways.
Either in the form of solid surface or yarn, recycled plastic can be turned into all sorts of interior pieces.

Some recycled plastic interior products from SforSustainable:

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Credit: Loll Designs
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Credit: DesignByThem
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Credit: Muuto
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Credit: Claire Gaudion

Organic waste

Even what commonly ends up in the compost can have a second life as a design piece!

Peels and leaves can become dyes to give a natural tint to textiles. Alternatively, vegetable pulps of all sorts can be moulded in the shape of furniture tops and accessories, preserving their naturally vibrant colour.

Some organic waste interior products from SforSustainable:

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Credit: Ottan
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Credit: Cloth

When speaking about sustainable designs, a lot has to do with materials…
And if we let go of common preconceptions, accepting that all materials have the same potential, then we’ll be able to witness some incredible transformations — like household trash to sustainable design!

Originally published at https://dfordesign.style on January 22, 2021.

Interior designer+Content creator on a mission: making interiors good for wellbeing (biophilic design) & our planet. My entire blog: https://dfordesign.style

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