Stuff about resourcefulness

Shed culture is about resourcefulness – or for our purposes, not throwing things out and finding a use for them.

It all comes down to the properties of things. How often have you looked at a machine part or a piece of discarded material and thought: that looks as though it could you can see it would be useful in some context. You know enough about how things are made to see that there has been a lot of energy and resources invested into the thing you’re looking at. Furthermore, you can see it has properties that make it useful: it might have bearings in it or a perfectly useful motor or transformer. Or it might just be very strong or flexible.

Take those plastic tongues you use to join chipboard flooring together. They’re often discarded around building sites and you often see builders pick them up and take them home. The stuff is just so strong and flexible – it’s damn near indestructible. But what can you do with them?

This section of the IBYS website is dedicated to your suggestions about smart reuse of such things. We want you to share your ideas and contributions.

I’m not talking about making things into decorative objects ie turning discarded typewriter keys into hair decorations or Coke cans cut up into mobiles but make use of the physical properties of otherwise to-be-discarded goods into useful things that have an extended and very functional life.

Third world countries do this already of course(see photo)

Shoes from drink bottles - a drastic (but impressive) African solution

It’s just us slack-jawed wasteful westerners who have got into some very wasteful habits.

The Russians have a big tradition of this too and you might want to check out Mr Vladimir Arkhipov’s rather unusual website to see some of his unusual collection.

In the meantime here’s a few more ideas;

What can you do with old bicycles? I’ve seen bikes made into water pumps, knife sharpeners, even drinks blenders. (Any photos appreciated) or old clothes hoists it all sorts of lifts and other devices.

Windscreen wiper motors are put to a thousand uses too.