The great thing about dumpster diving for materials is that you never know what you're going to find. And the bad thing about dumpster diving for materials is...you never know what you're going to find. For those seeking to repurpose materials, whether they're vinyl scraps, men's belts or even old cars, the dream is that you're able to find a consistent source of the stuff to steady up your supply chain.
Industrial designer, Pratt grad, and veteran dumpster diver Ben Gould's material of choice is the bike chain, and he's found his supply source. As old chains are discarded through repairs and new chains are shortened to fit specific bicycle configurations, Gould found that "The average bike shop produces 25-40 pounds of wasted chain PER MONTH!"
While all of that chain doesn't go into the garbage--it's typically shipped, with an associated cost, to a recycling facility to be melted down--Gould would prefer they be shipped to him, at his own cost, so he can turn them into jewelry. To do that Gould needs a network of bike shops across the country to get on board.
The attendant LifeCycle Bracelets project set up by Gould was successfully Kickstarted this week, meaning he's now got shipping funds and will be able to invest in the forging and electroplating equipment necessary to crank the bracelets out in volume.
I'm not a fan of jewelry myself, but I dig what Gould is doing and hope his example will encourage others to seek out those consistent sources of garbage gold.
Below is Gould's original Kickstarter pitch.