Gallery: Top 6 Recycling and Reuse Initiatives from Around the Globe

Led by the government, or small independent art groups, cities everywhere are bursting with an array of ideas on how to decrease waste and make recycling initiatives more appealing to local residents. We've searched across the globe and found 6 brilliant recycling projects that have been making quite an impact since their inception. From a recycling awareness art project Warsaw to mandatory composting in San Francisco, jump ahead for our top 6 favorite recycling and reuse projects!







Recycling Cooking Oil in Barcelona

In an effort to salvage all of the cooking oil used annually in Barcelona, and keep it from contaminating local water, city officials have begun handing out free “OliPots” oil pots in an attempt to get more citizens to deposit the material for eventual reuse. The new recycling initiative aims to reclaim as much of the used cooking oil as possible, and there is no limit as to which oils can be recycled – the city will take any type. And the Olipot itself features a built-in filter that separates the oil from any lingering food.

Mandatory Composting in San Francisco

Despite news that San Francisco already diverts over 72% of its waste from landfills thanks to rigorous recycling efforts, the city has committed to cutting down on trash even more by setting up the country’s first mandatory composting law. Mayor Newsom signed the nation’s first mandatory composting law back in June 2009, and now San Francisco residents are familiar with the green bins that have popped up across the city.

Stylized Trash in Argentina

Commissioned by recycling company C.Re.S.E., this Tetris-shaped outdoor furniture by Designo Patagonia seeks to ‘stylize’ rubbish. Designer Manu Rapoport created the concept in a park in Córdoba, Argentina, hoping to help people understand that rubbish can be a precious raw material by displaying perfectly clean recyclable paper, tin, glass, pet, nylon, expanded polystyrene, aluminum and tetra-brick. C.Re.S.E. is a nationalized recycling company that collects household waste and distributes it through local cartoneros cooperatives that separate, clean, pack and sell precious waste to recycling companies around the country. Since the company opened, almost 30% of the city has joined the recycling efforts.

Recycling Becomes Illuminating in Warsaw

As recycling is not yet a daily activity for many households in Warsaw, Poland, art collective Luzinterruptus set up an illuminating intervention. The group created an innovative art installation called Recycling Sunday, to bring recycling awareness to locals. One thousand colored plastic bags were scattered about a public plaza, each fitted with a light bulb inside. Luzinterruptus chose bags in the three colors used for recycling – green for glass, yellow for metal and blue for paper.

Reverse Vending Pays Recyclers in U.S.A

The Dream Machine is a new type of vending kiosk which reverses our traditional vending machine concept, giving you points and prizes in exchange for an empty bottle or can. Organizers hope the reverse vending machine will encourage recycling when people are away from home and without access to a convenient recycling bin. Created through a partnership between Pepsi, Waste Management and Keep America Beautiful, and manufactured by GreenOps, the computerized recycling centers were installed across North Carolina. But the organizers have big plans to roll them out nationwide.

Waste-water Park in Germany

Residents of the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia all tap into the same closed sustainable water system which draws from the river and canal, rainwater and waste water. Designed by Ooze and Marjetica Potrc, this water-recycling park seeks to turn consumers’ fears about wastewater around by putting the treatment process on display. The process is showcased through colorful architecture and a great set of eco-features. The design uses a constructed wetlands and a rainwater-harvesting roof to clean the liquid and an on-site community garden also gets its portion from the treatment park.


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