How to Recycle Like an Evil Genius (w/Video)


Made recycling resolutions for the New Year? If so, they probably involve collecting materials and putting them into a blue bin. Our standard conception of recycling is good… it’s not always particularly compelling, though.

Russell J. Gehrke’s book Recycling Projects for the Evil Genius changes that (and, yes, that’s an affiliate link). Rather than how to separate paper from plastic from aluminum, Gehrke’s book focuses on DIY projects that you can do at home with materials that might otherwise go into that blue bin… or, god forbid, the trash can. Paper can become bricks and blocks… as can plastic bottles and shopping bags. Food and yard scraps can become compost… more quickly. And though the title specifies recycling, Gehrke goes beyond the concept into making your own household cleaners and pest and weed control products. If you really get into upcycling various materials, he even has tips on how to turn it into a business (which he addresses from experience).

If you want to get more use out of the materials that come through your home or business, or just have a real knack/jones for doing it yourself, you’re bound to find some projects here that you can’t wait to try. If you do, let us know about it…

Not a DIYer? Never fear… we’ve got all sorts of useful products made from recycled materials, including plastic lawn furniture, flooring, pens, and even toothbrushes.

  1. Sslly Miller

    Very interesting article. As an organic gardener I am always looking for new ways to control the pests and weeds so will check it out.
    I also love my beatiful hardwood floor that is 75 year old oak that was salvage from an old school house.

  2. Lizbeth Rymland

    Jeff, I just returned from Amatique Bay, Guatemala, a place without much road access, without cars, without barges or big boats in the bay…there is no money there, a lot of willing workers, creative elders, and there is a group of leaders interested in recycling business, I was thinking about cottage industries there that people could use their solid materials to craft needed saleable items for their own communities…Mostly they have plastic bottles and aluminum, to bail, to sell…For Example: I was carrying a Camelbak on my back for about five months… which I used day and night to sip well water… everyone liked this thing…and I wondered how to make the Camelbak, for example, out of recycled water bottles or other materials… Any ideas? What materials, what machines make the materials?

    1. Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Hi, Lizbeth–

      I’m guessing it would depend on the plastic itself… and I’m not sure that water bottle plastic would be the best choice (and I’m basing this on knowing that, most of the time, it’s not recycled into a hard material). Aluminum seems like an obvious answer (and, of course, that’s being done)…

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