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Izhar Gafni pedalling his bike made from recycled cardboard. Giora Kariv via Vimeo
second life

6 cool items made from recycled stuff this summer

A cardboard bicycle and a dress you can recycle yourself are just some of the innovations in recycling we’ve seen these past two months alone.

A BICYCLE MADE out of cardboard doesn’t sound very practical, does it?

The model created by Israeli entrepreneur Izhar Gafni, however, is beginning to earn praise. It is made from recycled cardboard and as such costs just over €10 to produce but it is waterproof, durable and lightweight.

Recycling is big business now – and there are some genuinely brilliant inventions that have been launched in the past two months alone.

1. The cardboard bicycle

Creator Gafni told writer Miriam Kresh last week that his plan is to take the bike to market at around $60 (€49) and its lifespan is estimated at about two years. Watch him cycle it through puddles:

(via Giora Kariv/Vimeo)

2. The compostable toothbrush and travel case

These are made from a material made from plants and if you don’t have a compost heap to put them on, the Canadian makers World Centric have promised that you can send your used ones back and they’ll do it for you. They have just gone on sale here for Can$4.55 each. (€3.70)

3. The dress you can recycle to your heart’s content

A Dutch company Refinity has designed an ink that can create prints on clothes – but when washed with a special detergent, they disappear and can be replaced with a new design. The idea is to allow owners of their clothes to change patterns and designs on the material when they tire of the one they have. Hey presto, a whole new look for the same old gúna.

“This method would combine short (fashion) cycles with long raw material cycles,” they say. It could also have good applications in corporate situations where a brand or company name change might otherwise necessitate a new branded wardrobe for staff.

The dress below bears the type of print that can be ‘washed out’.

(Via Refinity)

4. The new way to recycle solar power… a paint-on battery

Recycling the sun’s energy to create power is not a new concept but the announcement from Rice University in Texas at the end of June was pretty amazing. They have developed a “lithium-ion battery that can be painted on virtually any surface”. The university’s own report on it has all the scientific details your heart desires – essentially, the paint infuses the surface it is layered on with electrolytes and it is then heat-sealed and can be charged. It should make for a very eco-friendly rechargeable battery.

(via RiceUniversity/Youtube)

5. The packaging you can turn into a lampshade

We’ve all seen the phenomenon of children casting aside a new toy in favour of playing with the cardboard box it came in… Dutch baby equipment company Joolz decided to put directions in every box in which it packs its products. These directions allow for “a second, useful, life for the packaging”, showing you how to turn it into a chair, a picture frame, a bird house – and even a lamp.

(via Joolz/Facebook)

6. The stove that allows you to turn campfire smoke into power for your phone

This has just gone on sale in shops in the US – a camping stove that allows you to covert waste heat into a power source for charging, say, your mobile phone. BioLite, the New York company that invented it late last year, says the stove only uses half the wood a normal campfire would. On top of that, by trapping the excess heat from it and streaming it to a power outlet, you can convert that firesmoke into juice for electronic devices. Not exactly getting back to nature, but pretty kind to nature… It costs $129 (€105)

(via BioLiteStove/Youtube)

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