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Goodbye Phonebooks, Hello Creative Reuse

Phonebooks, due to advancements in technology, are probably soon to be phasing themselves out and going into paper extinction.

Some states are allowing residents to opt out of receiving certain phone directories to save costs and environmental resources, as there are actually many benefits to discontinuing phonebook production. The Iowa Policy Research Organization reported that in addition to the tons of ink that is required for printing them, around 5 million trees are also used.

Only about 20% of all phonebooks are recycled. According to the Environmental Protection Agency outdated issues produced a massive 840,000 tons of waste in 2008 alone.

Some artists and architects have come up with curious, and somewhat unexpected, ideas for reusing them.

Photographer Cara Barer uses them in her visual art sculptures, along with other forms of recycled paper mediums like discarded maps and manuals. Manipulating the paper into colorful presentations, they certainly don’t resemble the boring white pages anymore.

Goodbye Phonebooks, Hello Creative Reuse

Image source: carabarer.com

Goodbye Phonebooks, Hello Creative Reuse

Image source: carabarer.com

Another interesting wearable production is actually made from recycled phonebooks. Artist Kelly Murray’s handmade phonebook dress is a display of upcycled fashion art. Made from many hand formed pages, you probably wouldn’t want to wear it in the rain.

Goodbye Phonebooks, Hello Creative Reuse

Image source: mymodernmet.com

However, this statement piece would fit right in at this adequately titled Scraphouse, which was ruggedly constructed of reused supplies like metals and phonebooks. The outer wall and shelf were formed with old directories.

Goodbye Phonebooks, Hello Creative Reuse

Though phonebook constructions may be rare, this one may take the prize. Built by Richard Kroeker Design in collaboration with students at Dalhousie University from the Department of Architecture, this pavilion was an experimental project to utilize ambient materials.

Using recycled phonebooks from the school and surrounding community members to make the insulated walls, the books were screwed into sheet metal. The joists on the roof were even made of phone directories that were laminated for extra protection.

Goodbye Phonebooks, Hello Creative Reuse

Image source: From Richard Kroeker Design – Assembling the phonebook pavilion.

Goodbye Phonebooks, Hello Creative Reuse

Image source: richardkroekerdesign.com

The end result is a sturdy structure, and an impressive example of how architecture is the perfect outlet for adventurously using reprocessed supplies.

The ability to take everyday materials and smartly transform them into entertaining or even useful ones is clever. You never know when inspiration may be lurking in the next recycling bin.

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