How To Recycle Plastic Into “Paint”: South African Artist Mbongeni Buthelezi [Video]

We’ve seen lots of creative uses of waste plastics: from hydroponic planters to private floating islands. None of these ideas are going to solve the issue of plastic pollution – there’s just too much of it – but each reinforces the notion of reuse rather than “one and done” disposal. So, when I saw artist Mbongeni Buthelezi’s story on BBC News this morning, I had to share: this Johannesburg resident has come up with a very creative means to recycle plastic into artwork.

The short version: Buthelezi melts strips of colored plastic from bags and films onto a surface (also made from plastic). But, as you’ll see in the video above, that totally understates his process of creation. His method also makes art creation widely available – while not everyone may be able to afford traditional art materials, we can all gather waste plastic.

The only concern I’d have with this method involves the emissions created by melting the plastic: I’m guessing they’re not particularly healthy, and would love to see Buthelezi wearing a mask. His work, though, is stunning…

Know of other artists who recycle plastic in a similar manner… or a completely different one? Point them out to us in the comments…

via @bywatersuk

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
  • Rittenhouse

    My name is Rittenhouse and I don’t use plastic, but the typically discarded Tissue paper from gift giving to create large paintings at or rittenhouseartist on instagram.

  • Plastic is non biodegradable and often times, plastic bags are overlooked in the recycling process. This really is making something beautiful out of nothing.