In a workshop in downtown Chang Mai, Thailand, designers turn plastic trash–mostly plastic bags they collect from the street–into marble-like coasters and tabletops. In a maker space in Lviv, Ukraine, designers use DIY equipment hacked from old industrial parts and a shopping cart to recycle plastic trash into bowls. In Seoul, designers use a mobile plastic recycling cart for education.
The majority of the 300 million tons of plastic produced every year isn’t recycled, and recycling that does happen typically happens at an industrial scale in factories using equipment that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. But a growing number of designers are using a set of open-source, easy-to-build tools to recycle plastic and manufacture new plastic products on their own.
One set of instructions explains how to build a low-cost machine that shreds plastic into flakes. Another modular machine extrudes plastic that can be used for 3D printing; an injection machine and a compression machine can form plastic into molds. A series of videos explain how to build the machines using basic materials and universal parts.
Is the “simple cabin” the ideal vessel for disconnecting from modern life? Friends Jon Staff and Pete Davis have placed dozens of tiny houses on wheels in the woods within driving distance of Boston, New York City and Washington DC. “The cabin”, explains Staff, “reminds us of a time when we didn’t have to respond to something within an hour, let alone 24 hours, when we didn’t have to do conference calls on our vacations.”
Believing that context is everything, the Getaway founders don’t offer, and actively discourage, too much activity (there’s no kayaking, swimming, skiing). Instead, they offer a cell phone lockbox, acres of nature, tips for “forest bathing”, wildflower scouting and campfire making.
An oil drum (barrel) and a bit of metal pipe is all you need to make a really simple but effective pizza oven. It may not look very fancy but it works well and it will cook a whole lot of pizza. Also, instead of waiting for days/weeks for your clay oven to dry enough to use, an earth bermed barrel oven can be made and used on the same day. Which is really handy if you have a few people coming round.
The soil/earth/stones are vital to keep the heat in – but you could use sand, clay or bricks too. (Don’t use bark mulch or anything similar as it will catch fire for sure.) On our oven the soil ended up being around 8” thick at the top – which was good but more than was really needed. (We would have built the whole thing into a bank, which would have saved a lot of work, but there wasn’t one handy.) I would suggest you aim for 6” minimum.
More details on YouTube
The most impressive thing to me was how fast they built this pizza oven and how much food they made. They fed a large group of about 20-30 people and did everything within a few hours.
The Tipu Sultan Merkez School in Punjab, Pakistan has a new sustainable building that was designed by German architects Roswag Seiler and built by locals. Using locally sourced and low-impact materials, the shelter was fashioned from cob, bamboo and mud. Cob is widely used in Pakistan, and is a material made from clay, sand, water and straw. The concoction can easily be mixed by bulls, and once set, works as a natural insulator that keeps humidity at bay and interiors cool.
The new building has two floors — the lower one made from cob and bricks, and the top one with strong renewable bamboo and mud walls. Bamboo scaffolding and stairs connect ten rooms, service areas and the study zone. The flat roof was made using a classic Pakistani technique and consists of three bamboo layers and mud.
Special thanks to Phillip for sending this link.