Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Inventor (I Know) & Starbucks Recycle

 {The cheerful Starbucks at Forest Heights in Portland, Oregon}
Let me tell you a tale of an inventor I know and a new recycling bin...

(the start of the bin, Ryan to the right}
The inventor is my Brother-In-Law Ryan, and these pics are from my Portland, Oregon trip last month.
{Laura and her mother cleaned all the recycled straws and cups used in the bin}
The recycling bin was the brainchild of Laura Kutner, a barista at Starbucks and a Peace Corps volunteer who worked in Guatemala.

{bottles in a framework of metal and chicken wire, and the finished building}
In Granados, Guatemala, Laura helped build two beautiful classrooms of plastic bottles, adapting a technique started by Pura Vida Atitlan.  The children of the school had to collect the bottles and fill them with plastic trash for strength. They cleaned up so much trash, they had to search in neighboring communities! Here's a link to an ABC News story on her inspired project.

{my Nephew J got in the act}
Laura wanted to encourage more people to recycle their plastic cups at Starbucks, and dreamed up the idea of a recycling bin made of recycled bottles. "I had never built a trash can out of bottles before," Laura said, "but I figured if we could do a school and other structures, a trash can couldn't be too difficult."
{the team in action}
My inventor brother-in-law helped on the project. "Ryan graciously said he would help," Laura says, "and he added so many wonderful ideas, (not to mention his time, tools, and expertise!) that made this recycle bin that much more fantastic.  The idea to cover the threaded rods with straws, as well as the double magnetic lid, was all his idea, and it makes the bin that much more functional and aesthetically pleasing!"
{Ryan, me, and the almost finished bin}
I loved this Earth Day project! Congrats to Laura and Ryan and everyone who helped, and a reminder to all to recycle that plastic!

...and look for GIVEAWAYS on my blog soon of two of Ryan's fantastic inventions!



  1. I just went to the Starbucks website to learn more about their recycling programs and read this:

    ...Since 1985 we’ve rewarded customers with a discount for using travel tumblers. In 2010 customers brought their own tumblers into our stores more than 32 million times.

    So the best thing - bring your own!


  2. Absolutely love it! Love how you interweaved two different cultures into this piece - wonderful. Its great to see someone doing something really practical and bringing home that these plastic cups have to go somewhere! I am the worst I must admit as I have shopping bags galore but often leave them in the car.Reminds me of that boat that San Fran Getty guy built of plastic bottles and sailed around the world

  3. Oh..loretta i had an amazing time with you! thank you so much for your visit,i have been distracted with projects and couldn't write earlier,can't wait to see the pictures.I am so glad your kids like the note pads,please do the giveaway!thank you again you made my Deepali

  4. Jody- I heard about that raft. Wasn't it to raise awareness of the plastic in the ocean?

    Deepali- So great to meet you to! Now I can saw yes when my husband asks if I have meet any of my "bloggy" friends! i will write a post on your Portland shop and giveaway your little treasure, soon!


  5. Loretta this is such a wonderful post! I love when people recycle but when you can use the recycled items for buildings...WOW, I love it!I always recycle everything and I mean everything since we live in the country and can make compost piles too.

  6. This is great Loretta! What creative ways to recycle and help out!

  7. Debra @ Acquired Objects- Will have to see how your recycled window is coming along in your renovation...


  8. Wow, what an absolutely inspiring idea....thank you so much for sharing it. I'm all for reusing where we can and it's a better way of recycling materials than the typical method...not to mention more creative too :)


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