Environment Recycling & Waste 10 Beautifully Useful Things Made From 'Useless' Trash By Starre Vartan Starre Vartan Writer Columbia University Syracuse University Starre Vartan is an environmental and science journalist. She holds an MFA degree from Columbia University and Geology and English degrees from Syracuse University. Learn about our editorial process Updated August 19, 2021 Photo: ReTrash. Share Twitter Pinterest Email Environment Plastics Zero Waste Nathan Devine's ReTrash is one of those projects that's such a great idea, it has grown much bigger than him. As an Australian kid during the '80s, Devine (that's him, pictured above) helped his dad in his landscaping and carpentry business, but his favorite part of the week was going to the garbage dump, where he would pull useful things from the trash, fix them up and resell them. Fast-forward to the present, and Devine continued this idea of turning trash to treasure; he has constructed a shed from old pallets and a garden box from an old window (see below). Now, the online community that formed around the project, ReTrash, is soon to be published as a book of the same name, including both Devine's projects and the work of 82 designers and artists from 20 countries around the world who all see trash as Devine does: fuel for creativity. According to the site: "ReTrash seeks to inspire and challenge people to think about how we can reuse waste in creative and innovative ways. It is the work of a three-year collaboration, during which time ReTrash has received hundreds of book contributions from people all over the world." The upcycling projects below are just some of those that will be featured in an upcoming book about ReTrash (check at the bottom for more details about the publishing, and how you can be a part of it!). With the rise of e-books, real paper books are being dumped by the ton. But with interesting colors and patterns, and great old cover designs and fonts, they can be made into all sorts of things, including this chair by designer Alvaro Tamarit. One of Nathan Devine's own upcycling projects is this awesome planter made from an old window; it's a cold frame for spring seedlings (when the glass is closed), and then converts to a regular planter when plants get bigger. Dirk Vander Kooij's chair is made entirely from recycled plastic bottles that are melted down and used as base material in a 3-D printer; the device lays each layer of plastic down one at a time (you can see the grooves in the image above). These fun, hard-sided bags made from recycled cardboard leave room for all kinds of needful things inside, and Jeff McCann's original exterior illustrations make these bags one-of-a-kind. These lovely candleholders by Lucia Bruno are crafted from upcycled bottles, and create a pretty light of an evening — without using additional resources. Ruti Ben Dror's pencil-keeper (it could be used for jewelry or other small items as well) bowl is crafted from recycled paper and cardboard, so it will stay together for the long haul. This beautiful, minimalist light fixture by Rodger Thomas is made from an old industrial whisk that's been discarded. Tanith Rohe makes jewelry — like this stunning cuff — from recycled paper and electronics, and is both unique and striking, in an understated way. Mark Langan's meticulous works of art, some of which are based on famous paintings and sculptures, are all made with recycled cardboard. In another creative use of books, this time it's for a shelf to hold newer tomes (or other stuff); it's a fun double-take kind of piece by Not Tom for the book-lover's home. Devine is running a Kickstarter campaign through May for the book's printing costs, but you can pre-order it here, too. You can see some more of the projects from ReTrash in the video above.