Sunday, April 22, 2012

How an MMORPG can inspire recycling and do-redo...

Yes, I'm a gamer and Guild Wars is my addiction. With Guild Wars 2 coming up, and I'll be participating in my first ever beta test the coming weekend, I thought it was time to share with how Guild Wars has inspired me in unexpected ways.

Guild Wars is a fantasy roleplaying game on a grand scale, in which me and my hubby roam around a beautiful but dangerous world, killing monsters. But how on earth could this kind of game inspire recycling, you probably ask. Well, let me tell you...

It's simple, really. In GW, all kinds of loot can be recycled by salvaging the basic materials. For example, a piece of old armor might give you some bolts of cloth or leather. A flower might be salvaged for plant fibers. An old staff can be salvaged for wood. And so on and so on; anything and everything can be salvaged. These basic materials may then be processed into finer materials (such as making steel from iron) or used to craft new items (mainly armor).

More and more, this concept is influencing how I look on trash. The metal of an old soda can could be salvaged and used to make new cans. Plastic bottles can be used to make cloth. Old paper can be used to make new paper. Yes, this is what recycling is all about.

The thing is, recycling doesn't have to stop there. Most people are quite content with just putting glass, plastic, metal and paper in the appropriate bin for recycling to be done by some big company, and of course this is great. But what about all the other stuff we throw away?

I really got into this question a couple of weeks ago, when I went through the mess of stuff cluttering up our hallway. I just had to get rid of some of the shoes which were full of holes and a an old handbag that was so close to breaking it was dangerous to keep anything important in. 

I sat down and looked at a pair of old boots that had to go. The sole was a complete mess and had made my feet wet too many times already. But the shoe laces were good, so I took them out. Then I looked at the metal thingies that had held the lacing, and realized that those could be used again in some future sewing project. The rest was just so messy it had to go in the bin. Then I looked at the old hand bag, not really wanting to throw it away but knowing it wasn't worth keeping. But what about salvaging some of the components? I ended up taking out three good zippers, all the metal stuff as well as some of the fabric that still looked good. At least, the fabric looked good after a good washing and ironing!

The fabric I am thinking of using for a shirt... It's not enough for an entire garment, but would be great for perhaps a collar and cuffs. Or some other detail. I just have to find a matching fabric... 

I have also started collecting my old candle stumps, to be melted down and made into new candles. And with good result, I gotta say! 

Now of course no one in the modern world can recyle all of their trash. I know I couldn't. But just as when playing Guild Wars, I have started to look at stuff a second time before throwing them out. Just look, and think. Is there anything in this particular piece that could be used again for something new? If yes, go for it! Then of course it's important to not just gather lots of materials, but to actually do something with them as well. And it's oh so important to keep it clean and tidy, there's no point in living in a pile of trash. 

Do you share my thoughts on this subject? Do you have any good examples of materials that can be salvaged from trash, that people usually forget? 


  1. Yes, I have been known to cut the metal fasteners, d-rings, etc off a purse that was too worn to continue using. Making things from salvaged items is fun; it forces me to think creatively in a way that using new materials doesn't.