Anyone who’s looked at the stats for how much trash goes to landfills in one day for even one small town knows how terrifying the state of the world is. Think about the number of disposable things you throw away in a week like takeout boxes, disposable utensils, plastic wrapping, etc., even though a lot of these things could be reused if we just made an effort to clean them. They could even be up-cycled if we cared to do that.
When you think of recycling, you might picture long months of collecting old trash, transporting them too depressing grey buildings on the outskirts of town where they’re turned into shoddy low-quality material.
But that’s not exactly right. Recycling doesn’t always take big factories and city broad collection regimes. Sometimes it can be as simple as walking into an office or a restaurant and asking them to store all their waste utensils in separate bins so that you can take them out at the end of the day and see what can be done about them. A few people in Vancouver did just that a while ago.
They asked restaurants all around the city to give them the chopsticks they were going to throw away. They then processed the material with resin and compressed the sticks together to form tiles and boards. A hydraulic machine was used to apply the high pressure. These boards can be used for desks, beds, walls, shelves, stairs, and floors.
You can implement a similar idea in your hometown. The waste chopsticks, you’ll be given for free. But you will have to put in the effort to go and ask for them.
Shredding old wood:
Aside from chopsticks, you can reclaim old wood and grind it or shred it to form fragments. You will probably have to add some dye to the wood at this stage to look better once the product is made. These fragments will have to be baked and hardened with resin to eliminate the germs and give them more complex coats.
Then, under compression, these fragments will agglutinate to form boards and tiles. You can then use these to make floorboards, shelves, furniture, etc. This, too, just like the previous idea, will need you to use a hydraulic machine of some sort to apply the pressure.
Old wood isn’t easy to come by. However, sawdust is much more easily found and affordable. Just like with wood, you can compress sawdust to form surfaces. However, sawdust boards have less tensile strength and should not be used for beds, dining tables, chairs, etc. They can be used in more minor things like toys, jars, etc. You can make quite a collection of crafts with this kind of wood.
As with all recycled products, your products should look beautiful. Your products must look good, aside from just being functional. This is because most people are prejudiced towards recycled material and would much instead buy virgin wood furniture. The only things that could sway them towards you are the appearance and the price of the product.