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Grassroots Innovation

Discarded 2 Desired | Exquisite jewelry made of trash

By Dian Hasan | November 21, 2010

What separates us from designers or anyone with a good eye for design, is their ability to look beyond the obvious and turn a daily object into a work of art! And when you combine this knack with an eco-consciousness, the result is amazing. Creations that soar as far as the imagination.

What others consider as trash, waste, garbage or simply junk, they see as a palette of design potential!

Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder!


What happens after you consume your soft drink? The aluminum cap is probably the first you’d throw away. Not so fast. Israel-based design firm, Kotik, transforms the caps into exquisite jewelry. You wouldn’t know at first sight. What brands did you notice. Check below to see what you might’ve missed.


Inspiration: Say Hi to Design

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Grassroots Innovation | Abject Project, LA ~ design as a gamechanger

Abject Object is a design enterprise that supports homeless individuals and shelters through the design, production, and sale of retail accessories made from reclaimed materials. A hands-on rather than handout model for social and economic empowerment, Abject Object teaches valuable job skills including sewing, production, and business strategies, to homeless individuals.

The Los Angeles team of Project H partnered with the Downtown Women’s Center, a shelter in central Los Angeles, to develop four retail products that could be made using basic sewing skills, and whose function would have retail marketability, as well as tell stories about the women who made them.

The design team and women from Downtown Women’s Center worked side by side for three months on the development and prototyping of four products, each with a double-function:

1. A Bag that transforms into a hammock,

2. A “pocket scarf” that can be used as storage,

3. A hood garment that doubles as a tote bag, and

4. A cloth mat whose pieces can be used as pot-holders.

All materials were scavenged or donated, and included recycled bike inner tubes, parachutes, donated clothing, and rope. The sale and proceeds of all four products, which will be sold through local and online retailers, go back directly to the individual who made the item, and the shelter.

Using the Downtown Women’s Center as a first client, the team has now developed a manual, user guide, training program, and resource kit for additional shelters in the area to launch their own in-house Abject Object enterprises.

Inspiration: Project H Design


Discarded 2 Desired | Empowering trash collectors through bags

By Dian Hasan | November 3, 2010

What separates us from designers or anyone with a good eye for design, is their ability to look beyond the obvious and turn a daily object into a work of art! And when you combine this knack with an eco-consciousness, the result is amazing. Creations that soar as far as the imagination.

What others consider as trash, waste, garbage or simply junk, they see as a palette of design potential!

Here’s a look at what happens to trash in Jakarta, Indonesia, and how it’s transformed functional bags.

XS Project has such brilliant idea to help reduce waste and overcome poverty in Jakarta. They buy unused plastics from the trash pickers, develop the plastics into bags, wallets, trash bins, lunch boxes, etc. More information on their website and their catalog. I bought the large handbag and it’s so useful, long lasting and unique. I use it for when we go to the beach or the swimming pool. It’s great cause you could just wipe it if it ever gets wet. The one thing I remember when I first bought the bag was the wonderful smell! Because the plastics are mostly from detergents or floor cleaners.

Inspiration: Jakarta Daily Photo Blog


Eco Lifestyle Visionary | Blake Mycoskie

Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes fame offers some candid insights on the condition of today’s environment and society, and the opportunities that exist for business to rethink their business model to include a “give back” component and do more. Green-thinking is here to stay, and is still evolving, touching a mere tip of the iceberg of the sheer possibilities. Mycoskie and his TOMS (the two brands are really inseparable!) are truly inspiring, a clear pioneer of a new way of business thinking.


Discarded 2 Desired | Stool made of crutches and bike parts

In the spirit of “reuse, reduce, recycle”, I came across an interesting piece on one man’s journey into a design competition that resulted in an interesting-looking final product.

They say that “necessity is the mother of all inventions”, and I’m guessing that’s what this chap was thinking when entering a design competition using recycled materials. His entry was a stool (doesn’t look like it was high enough to be a bar stool) fashioned out of three crutches and a bike wheel.

PS: the quirky stool did win a prize!

Source: Zieak and Ideas Inspiring Innovation