Creative Appliance Recycling Part 2
At the risk of generalizing to the point of ridiculousness, I think it is safe to say that we humans tend to fall into 1 of 2 categories, or at least possess a bent in that direction – the “messy” and the “neat”. I am willing to bet that no one with even the slightest neat tendency is reading this, as the thought of keeping “junk” around to make something out of is not remotely appealing. However, if you can handle the idea of keeping “junk” around long enough to make something out of it, you might be interested in learning more about creative appliance recycling.
Creative Recycling of Washers & Dryers
Before I started to do some research for this series, my understanding of creative appliance recycling was very limited to a few farm uses and some red neck concoctions. I was impressed to learn that there is actually a segment of the design world that focuses on using recycled materials. One design company I found in Sweden, Recreate Design Company, (thank you “Uncle Google”), runs public workshops in their studio so that people can work on DIY home décor projects out of reclaimed items. They have scores of blogs which display a diverse range of recycled designed. Their blog entitled “15 Ways to Recycle a Washing Machine Drum” features some wonderfully creative ideas for shelves, tables, and lamps made from washing machine drums.
Fire Pits & Incinerators
If the tumbling drum inside your dryer is metallic and not plastic it can make a good burning bin or fire pit. The holes in stainless steel washing machine drums allow for excellent air circulation and fast burning with minimal smoke for incineration purposes. Some people put these up on stands, but I like the idea of setting them on a group of flag stones or bricks, because I think they might be less apt to tip over or ignite dry grass.
As always, anything that holds dirt can be turned into a planter. Holes are already in place for drainage and you can creatively recycle Styrofoam peanuts or chunks by filling the bottom half of the planter so it weighs less and can be moved around more easily.
If you haven’t yet checked out Part 1 of this series, there is a fabulous article by Jenny Humphrey from the Cranbrook Guardian about Rick and Brenda Metheral and their raised garden beds made from old fridges and freezers. (Meet the Metherals, Masters of Recycled Container Gardening, July 9, 2013) They have also made a composter out of their old washing machine. The photo I have used to accompany this blog is of Brenda Metheral posing with that very top loading composter. (The photo is courtesy of Jenny Humphrey.) If you look closely, you will notice that the front panel of the washing machine has been cut away and a plywood door is in its place for easy access.
Earlier I referred to Recreate Design Company. There are some great photos of lamps in their blog entitled “15 Ways to Recycle a Washing Machine Drum”. Apart from the drum, the agitator can also be used to make a very funky looking lamp.
I read about someone that used the glass doors of front load washers as salad bowls and large fruit bowls. (Please note that some glass does contain lead which can leach into food. The more acidic the food and the longer the food’s exposure to the glass, the more leaching will occur. Unless you are able to confirm that the glass is lead free, using fruit that must be peeled, or using the bowls to serve dry food such as chips or peanuts may be a better idea. If in doubt, stick to using the bowls for decorative purposes.)
Playhouses & Tree Houses
Those very same glass doors on front loading washers can make very cool looking portholes or skylights in a playhouse or tree house.
Kid’s Repair Shop
There are some kids that have an innate curiosity about how things work. They want to works with tools and their hands. If you have a child like that you can keep him or her busy for hours disassembling a washing machine or a dryer. Have them sort the bolts and screws into different bins and see if there is anything there that is reusable or salvageable. Let their imaginations run wild and free and then scrap the rest. Who knows? You could be planting seeds that will one day lead to a career at NASA or even the appliance repair industry!
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Gord Haines is a journeyman appliance technician with over 25 years of experience.
Contact Gord’s Appliance for repair and servicing of all your residential appliances.