Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recycled goodies

I went to the Red Hot Art Festival in Stevens Square in Minneapolis today specifically to track down a Makeshift Accessories recycled business-card case. Devin Johnson had three for sale, and they are one-of-a-kind works of art. The one I bought has a body made from copper roofing, the lid is from a brass mailbox and the sprocket is from a fire sprinkler.

Says Devin: There is no negative environmental impact from the production of any of my pieces. Most metal is pulled from the recycler before it is heated and melted down. This eliminates the carbon emissions that would be released if the metal was not salvaged. All of my leftover scrap is used for smaller applications or recycled.

I also got these earrings from Paraselenic Studios, Recycled Curiosities, made from capacitors (from the University of Kansas physics department) and retaining rings used in small machinery.

Artist Laura Connor said she and artist husband Aaron find material everywhere -- lots of their bolts are found just by looking down when they're walking around. Turns out parking lots are full of bolts.

And a big display of buttons with a sign saying "only $1!" caught my eye. Sarah Byrnes gets her 1950s and '60s images from magazines such as Highlights for Children, Boy Scout Handbooks, catalogs and children's books. Sometimes she hits the jackpot and finds a huge stash in someone's basement, or a family member cleaning out a collection at school gives them to her.

And then, my money spent, I headed home. Because earlier today I manned the zero-waste station at the Mill City Farmers Market for six hours, starting at 7:30 a.m. And those of you who know me know that is way early for me. The new zero-waste setup (three unmanned disposal stations with one central manned station (below)) isn't ideal, but because of a lack of volunteers, the market had to pare down its goals.

An unmanned station (below). See the small metal container? That's now for compost -- it used to be that the compost bins were all the big green carts, reflective of how much compost we'd divert from the trash. But if the station isn't manned, people tend to overlook the signage and throw their stuff into whatever bin they see, which contaminates the compostables.

So today I went back and forth between my station and the disposal station near the Guthrie stairs where a lot of people eat, pulling compostables out of the trash. At 10:30, Kathy and her kids, Tom and Lin, arrived, and I was so happy to see them! Kathy dives right in like I do, digging through the trash with abandon, and her kids are no slouches either. Together we saved most of the compostables from the trash today. Thanks, Kathy, Tom and Lin!

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