Haylie Alsip, 4, of Grand Haven, Michigan, plays among hundreds of flowers made from recycled plastic water bottles by Libby Hodges of Florida on Wednesday, September 21, 2011. The ArtPrize entry, titled Thousand Suns, is on display outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
November 15 is America Recycles Day, an annual event launched in 1997 by the National Recycling Coalition. The need to reuse and recycle raw materials has never been as urgent as it is today. The human race has reached a worldwide population of 7 billion, and America is responsible for consuming a disproportionate share of the planet’s resources. In many parts of the world, recycling is done by necessity. In others, artists, governments, and businesses have found creative and useful ways to reuse materials — a plastic bottle may find itself reborn as artwork, a warm blanket, or fuel oil. Collected here are photographs of various recycling efforts around the world, ranging from small and whimsical to industrial in scale.
A worker checks the finish on a motorcycle made from recycled materials from spare car and bicycle parts, at a workshop owned by Roongrojna Sangwongprisarn in Bangkok, on July 27, 2011. With four shops in Bangkok named “Ko Art Shop,” Roongrojna also exports his artworks to clients all over the world.
A door made from recycled oil drums marks the entrance to a mud compound at the village of Kunkak in southern Afghanistan’s Helmand province, February 23, 2011. Village doors in Helmand are made from a variety of scavenged material — oil drums, shipping containers, bits of cloth, rice sacks or tins — and are often the only splash of individuality and colour in a drab, beige landscape where one compound looks almost identical to the next.
A couple visits a “bubble room” on July 26, 2011, in a park in Roubaix, France. The bubble room is made with recycled plastic and is kept under pressure by a silent blower.
A model presents a creation with recycled materials during Ecofashion 2011, on March 26, 2011, in Cali, Colombia.
An Afghan girl scavenges for recyclable items on the outskirts of Kabul, on October 4, 2011.
Israeli industrial designer Hadas Itzcovitch walks next to a model of a world globe she created using recycled bottles ahead of Earth Day in the city of Petah Tikvah near Tel Aviv, on March 24, 2011.