Unconsumption means the accomplishment of properly recycling your old cellphone, rather than the guilt of letting it sit in a drawer.
Unconsumption means the thrill of finding a new use for something that you were about to throw away.
Unconsumption means the pleasure of using a service like Freecycle (or Craigslist, Goodwill, or Salvation Army) to find a new home for the functioning DVD player you just replaced, rather than throwing it in the garbage.
Unconsumption means enjoying the things you own to the fullest – not just at the moment of acquisition.
Unconsumption means the pleasure of using a pair of sneakers until they are truly worn out – as opposed to the nagging feeling of defeat when they simply go out of style.
Unconsumption means feeling good about the simple act of turning off the lights when you leave the room.
Unconsumption is not about the rejection of things, or the demonization of things. It’s not a bunch of rules.
Unconsumption is an idea, a set of behaviors, a way of thinking about consumption itself from a new perspective.
Unconsumption is free.
Founder & Editor:Rob Walker, journalist, Savannah, GA
Editorial & Community Manager: Molly Block, marketing and business development geek, Houston, TX
The morning hours at Maya Pedal were filled with the sounds of grinding metal for the bicicuchilladora, a bicycle-powered cutting machine. The simple appliance, powered by a bicycle drivetrain, has at its heart a concrete cylinder, with columns of two-inch-long blades spinning within a plastic tube. Once used to move people, its bicycle parts now mince plastic in preparation for recycling or turning compost.
Bicycles are already a cost-effective, environmentally friendly way to travel around the city. But creative agency Lola Madrid wanted to make the perfect bike, so they developed a prototype made from components of old junkyard cars.
Cars go to the junkyard and we recycle them to create the most efficient, ecological and healthy mean of transportation.
Mark Castator “Heart Lode” Materials: SRAM parts, used bicycle chains, silicon bronze
This year’s pART Project – sponsored by SRAM, a Chicago-based bicycle-component company – gathered 80 artists to undertake a quixotic task: assemble a vibrant artwork using a box of 100 parts like gears, chains and frame-related miscellany. The objets will be auctioned off on November 29 in New York City, with the proceeds going toward SRAM’s World Bicycle Relief, an organization that has provided bikes and mechanical training to healthcare programs in Africa.
It’s kind of astonishing to see what somebody can conjure from what might as well be the leavings on a fix-it shop’s floor.
Now, here’s a combination of the two ideas: Bicycle Taxidermy, “the loving and lasting solution for your mechanical bereavement.”
Bicycle Taxidermy is a business founded by UK-based Regan Appleton, who gladly mounts the handlebars of customers’ old bikes onto wood bases; each mount includes an epitaph engraved with a customer’s preferred wording.
Nelson “Kio” Mukiika has a machine shop of sorts in the Kasese district of western Uganda. I say “of sorts” because he does not have access to basic measuring tools. Nevertheless, Mukiika is able to disassemble old bikes and re-weld them together into creations of his own design: Three-wheeled hand-powered bicycles. …
Mukiika can produce the trikes for about $170, well out of reach for the average Ugandan. (More than a third of the population live on a little over $1 a day.) The funding is provided by CanUgan. You can volunteer your time, form a support group, or make a donation to the organization here.
Get exercise while mowing the lawn — without using gasoline!
An Unconsumption reader sent this photo to us some time ago. (The source has since made the photo private on Flickr.)
We always love getting tips and suggestions. Is there something Unconsumption-y you think we should be aware of? Let us know via our Facebook page, Twitter (@Unconsumption us), Instagram (tag photos #unconsumption), Pinterest, or e-mail (unconsumption [at] gmail).
See also: A group of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison designed a somewhat different mowercycle. Our friends at Do The Green Thing highlighted the student project here.
Produce carts are common enough that they no longer garner much attention, especially around farmers markets.
So one design firm redesigned the ubiquitous cart, adding pedals and a folding system of trays that can haul up to 150 pounds of fruit and vegetables. The result was the Mattapan Mobile Farmstand, from Boston-based nonprofit design collaborative Building Research + Architecture + Community Exchange. BR+A+CE (pronounced “brace”) designed and built the human-powered mobile farm stand as the first project in support of its mission to create new community spaces that engage social, economic, and cultural issues.
Pedal-powered, cargo-carrying tricycles are increasingly popular in hip neighborhoods in European and North American cities, and have been widely used in Asia for decades. BR+A+CE designed their own version on a large-framed tricycle with a unique cargo box that contains four bays on two levels, each of which holds two produce bins for a total of eight.
Maya Pedal's remarkable upcycling project is a veritable post-industrial revolution for rural Guatemalans… and potentially for underdeveloped communities the world over. The San Andrés Itzapa-based NGO accepts donated bicycles from the US and Canada, which are either refurbished and sold or, more interestingly, converted into “Bicimaquinas" (pedal-powered machines).
"Pedal power can be harnessed for countless applications which would otherwise require electricity (which may not be available) or hand power (which is far more effort). Bicimaquinas are easy and enjoyable to use. They can be built using locally available materials and can be easily adapted to suit the needs of local people. They free the user from rising energy costs, can be used anywhere, are easy to maintain, produce no pollution and provide healthy exercise."
In short, Maya Pedal turns scrap bicycle parts into all variety of human-powered municipal machinery: “water pumps, grinders, threshers, tile makers, nut shellers, blenders (for making soaps and shampoos as well as food products), trikes, trailers and more.”
Woodguards [alternative to traditional bike mudguards] are made using re-claimed European and African timber and brightly coloured formica. They look fantastic and are very practical (they are actually lighter than your average plastic mudguards).
Each pair are hand-made in Edinburgh, with a furniture-makers skill and attention to detail.