Sustainability Building with Trash: Transfodesign's Trashkitchens Competition

Published on September 8th, 2011 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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Building with Trash: Transfodesign's Trashkitchens Competition


As a commenter here pointed out recently, the term “upcycling” has strayed from its industrial roots into the crafty DIY space… so you’re much more likely to see it applied to fashion, accessories, or other handmade items as opposed to products that come out of plants or factories. But it’s not just the Etsy set that’s embraced this concept: builders are using shipping containers, old tires, and a host of other discarded materials for environmental and economic reasons. Though they don’t often use the term “upcycled,” they’ve shown the potential for the idea beyond the individual craftperson.

Barcelona-based Transfodesign would like to encourage more designers to think about the potential that exists in the things we throw away, and has put together its Trashkitchens competition together to see what kinds of kitchens design teams might create from trash. Envisioned as “a satellite event planned during the BCN Design Festival,” Trashkitchens will challenge five teams to “create mobile kitchens from salvaged material.” The competitors will come to the event with their designs ready; the challenge will involve building the concept in two days.

Though just over a month away, Trashkitchens is still very much in process… and that includes funding. I found the project on Indiegogo, and think it’s worthy of your consideration (for funding that is… their time is short to raise the needed $6500). While some will no doubt think “A kitchen made of trash? I’m not eating anything out of it,” this strikes me as an innovative way to think about creative and practical reuse: an awful lot of material goes into kitchens, so figuring out ways to make at least some of that material reused, while minimizing squeamishness, seems like a challenge that could produce some really imaginative results.

Check out some of Transfodesign’s other projects (including one using shipping containers), and let us know what you think about the Trashkitchens concept.



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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