We plan to bring you regular highlights from our Pinterest boards, which are kept active by a team of ‘virtual volunteers’ in the USA and Ghana. We have our partners Friends of Mmofra to thank for recruiting and managing student ‘pinners’ on our behalf!
What’s special about this tough, colourful rope? It’s made from waste. Over to Random Specific, whose blog we spotted it on:
“Recently in Ahmedabad I got on the hunt for upcycled rope – made from plastic and foil packing waste. … I came across street-side rope spinners, distributors using scooters and rickshaws plus a number of examples of the rope applied to bed bases. At the hands of savvy Indian micro-entrepreneurs, packaging life-cycles are extended and waste is transformed.”
You could think of ‘upcycling’ as recycling with style. Upcycled products start out as waste, but the material isn’t just reused. It is turned into something better.
Sometimes upcycling is an informal street activity, taking place in towns and cities everywhere. But there are also small and medium-sized businesses doing it, often inspired by ingenious ideas from everyday life.
Check out these examples from Africa:
- In Ethiopia, Sole Rebels uses old tires for the treads of its Fair Trade-certified shoes. They are made in local communities and shipped all around the world.
- Here in Ghana, Mmofra Foundation’s near neighbours Trashy Bags make bags, laptop cases, wallets and more out of discarded water sachets and old billboards.
‘Upcycling’ will be a key element of our Playtime in Africa project. Using scrap for seating, shade and other elements will help keep our playspace low-cost and environmentally friendly. It will also help teach our visitors to think creatively about the world around them.
But the benefits don’t stop there. Designs that uses cheap, readily available material are easier for other people to replicate. So if a community far away from Dzorwulu likes the look of what we’ve done, they can build their own version!
This summer we’ll be focusing on reclaimed wood. There is plenty of it in Ghana, and it can be used for both practical and ornamental objects.
Take a look at these bookcases made of disused canoes at a hotel in Madagascar, or these huge slices of tree trunk we spotted hanging at a beach resort in Ghana.
There is sensory value in their appearance and texture, and they can also help teach curious kids what the inside of a tree looks like!