Posts tagged "piping"

How can I reuse or recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve had an email from Madhvi asking :

how can I creatively recycle old PVC pipes?

We’ve covered some reuses for guttering and drainpipes – which are increasingly plastic these days – but I thought it was worth asking Madhvi’s question because PVC pipes come in all sorts of diameters and lengths.

A few months ago, when I was looking to build us a laundry basket for the bedroom, I spotted this PVC pipe laundry hamper project, which I thought was a very neat idea. Depending on the size, that could possibly be made from offcuts or the idea shrunk down if you only had smaller pieces available. In a similar constructed-with-plumbing-joints vein, I also like the idea of this PVC pipe laptop stand and this bike stand.

As for smaller reuses without additional parts, I like this bathroom storage idea – I’m not sure how many people have two sets of curlers but it’s an adaptable idea, especially regarding the cables. You could use them to tidy up electric cables under desks/behind TVs etc – if all the cables go through sections of pipes, they’re less likely to be underfoot and get tangled. (If the end plugs are too wide to go through the pipe, you can cut slot in it to slide the cable through instead – this guy was doing it for something a little different but this is what I mean by a slot.) Similarly, you can use them instead of kitchen roll/toilet roll tubes for storing electric wires & extension cables when they’re not in use – we’re a geeky household, we’ve got a lot of spare wires ;)

And that’s all before we start thinking about ideas for the garden!

As for actual recycling, PVC recycling has increased over recent years but it’s still not as commonly collected for recycling as some other plastics (and it’s harder to recycle too). If you have a lot of pipes to get rid of, contact your local council’s waste department to see if they can accept them for recycling – or if they’re still in a new/usable condition, pass them on to someone else yourself through eBay, Freecycle/Freegle or Craig’s List etc.

How would you reuse or recycle old plastic/PVC pipes? Have you used them anywhere interesting around your home or garden?

How can I reuse or recycle foam water pipe lagging?

This is usually the other way around – we usually suggest things that can be used to insulate water pipes – but I saw some foam water pipe lagging on the road today while walking the dog. I imagine it had blown off a nearby skip or been taken off by kids (because reuse #1: they’re great for sword fights) but either way: yoink!

Given the rain of the last 24 hrs, they’re a bit wet but since they’re plasticky foam, I imagine they’ll dry fine. We’ll probably use them for actual pipe lagging as we’ve just had some new pipe work put in – but if we were already insulated, what else could we use them for?

Recycling things to make music

Drumming workshopAs I mentioned earlier in the month, it’s the ‘Recycle Into Art’ week of workshops in Liverpool this week.

The event kicked off with a musical event at St Luke’s Church – aka the Bombed Out Church – on Friday afternoon. It was led by Urban Strawberry Lunch, a music/arts group who make instruments out of waste items. Some of them are literally drums – old plastic drums of different sizes which are hit with sticks to produce sounds – while others are considerably more tuneful.

Unfortunately, we arrived in Liverpool a bit later than we’d hoped and had to get some lunch so couldn’t really take part in the workshop in the church gardens but those who were involved looked to be having fun (above).

Church bells made from old car wheelsWe did get to have a play on the other USL instruments inside the former church itself though – mostly notable an instrument made out of old hollow piping (different lengths made different notes that sounded like a bass synthesizer) and the “bells” in the church tower – made from suspended old car wheel rims. We gave the “bells” a really good bashing, leaving my ears ringing afterwards too ;)

Unfortunately none of the videos we made did justice to the sound of the “bells” – it was very cool and loud – but here’s John playing the pipe instrument thing: