Shapeshift — Transforming Garbage into Gold, Literally

Well not literally…

I recently stumbled upon an inspiring initiative from Kickstarter called Shapeshift. It caught my attention when I was reading my favorite blog, AVC, by the leading NYC venture capitalist, Fred Wilson (his daily blog has definitely been an inspiration for mine). Kickstarter’s Shapeshift projects are ideas that take used/old materials or waste, and recycle them into new and interesting products. “Projects that transform trash into original product design.”

As our landfills and oceans continue to pile up with more and more garbage, it’s exciting to see people trying to figure out how to take “garbage” and upcycle it into something potentially useful and beautiful. This new initiative by Kickstarter was inspired by a few previous projects that did something similar and was successfully funded. One of my favorites is Air-Ink, which took air pollution from car exhausts and turned it into safe-to-use ink products like pen and paint!!

There are currently a bunch of products which are still in the process of seeking backers. Ideas ranging from a speaker made from old wine crates to eco friendly rugs made from non-toxic recycled materials which can be easily washed (which I backed) to, vases made from disposable coffee shop cups and fungi! And a bunch of other amazing ideas.

I love these types of efforts. As a society we mustn’t be scared and run away from our waste issues. On the contrary, we need to look at our waste issues very, very closely. We need to determine different solutions that could work. If we do, in time and after considerable trial and error, we will be able to land on different initiatives that lead to the largest positive impact and a sustainable future. But we need to begin thinking and working on this stuff now!