Read of the Week

Best Recycling Tricks

Willem Steenkamp

Balboa Press

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

I’m a fan of artsy upcycling and was initially very interested in this book but then I started paging through it.

The author, in the introduction, explains that the ideas in the books are mostly “quick-fixes” which he has chosen to call recycling projects but it is fundamentally a compilation of the simplest plastic bottle upcycling projects.

He shares his name with another more accomplished writer and the brief, vague biography at the front of the book describes him as having experience in a large amount of fields, including having previously published poetry. How he is qualified in this field I could not gauge. Perhaps I’ve been somewhat spoiled in that I’ve seen some really amazing upcycling projects but I found the ideas in this book to be very bland.

Interesting, innovative and colourful upcycling ideas are not hard to find and a large variety are available online for free but the projects in this book are extremely simple and 12 of the 40 ideas in the book are no more than cutting off the bottom of the bottle to create a cup-like container.

I feel it would have found a more keen audience with young children and should have perhaps been packaged to target that market because some of the life skills projects my children have brought home in the junior grades resembled a few of the ideas in the book, which is priced at R100.

The back of the book gives a link to a free 10-page sample to the extended version of the book: 101 Recycled Soda Bottle Tricks.

The sample contains a few more innovative ideas, such as a fly-trap and miniature greenhouse (which I must admit I have also seen elsewhere before) but overall the book is just several variations of the same idea and only a handful of them are clever.

The winner of last week’s The Moon Sister book competition was Shireen Holtak of Tokai.