Green Leap Reimagined Recycling

Reimagined Recycling

Reimagined Recycling is a Pittsburgh-based program and creative studio that collects #4 and #5 plastics for shredding and repurposing into new products, including home and design goods. Established and operated by Ashley McFarland, this non-profit organization processes and reuses materials that would otherwise be excluded from mainstream recycling programs and destined for the landfill.

Green Leap Participant

New Products Coming Soon
Debuting with Monmade — April 2023

With Green Leap, Ashley is experimenting with larger products suited for the built environment, like floating shelving. Ashley is actively solving for best practices for recycling, processing, and remanufacturing of #4 and #5 plastics, including improving studio ventilation and molds used for new products like shelving (shown below). With support from the organization’s advisory board and peers from Monmade’s artisan producer network, Reimagined Recycling is poised to offer distinctly sustainable products to the design and development community.

“Our first goal is to educate people to view plastic as a material to be re-used and repurposed into functional, high-quality products. We are aiming to accomplish this by creating objects that are held in higher regard and will live in a home for generations, making the public part of the recycling and recrafting process, and making our process transparent and accessible. This will help people envision a new life for their yogurt containers.”

Ashley McFarland

Ashley McFarland (right) shares Reimagined Recycling’s process with Brian Ferrell (back right) and Monmade Director, Katie Schaible (left) during a Monmade design review meeting.

Since producing Reimagined Recycling’s shelving prototypes, Ashley has been improving this product’s overall design and functionality. She is also simultaneously working with Brian Ferrell Designs on a collaborative lighting product. The pendant design intends to marry Reimagined Recycling’s colorfully pressed plastic sheets with artist Brian Ferrell’s contemporary wood forms.

Monmade is excited to debut these sustainable products alongside additional ideas for using Reimagined Recycling recycled content at our premiere Green Leap design industry event this April. Our collective hope is that with time and further refinement, Reimagined Recycling will also be able to readily supply larger sheets of pressed plastics material to the design community for incorporation into their custom solutions, like furniture and room dividers.

Green Leap Event Details

sustainablyMonmade Insights 

Through our assessment of its studio and processes, Reimagined Recycling achieves four of Monmade’s six dimensions of sustainability: environment, climate, human health, and social equity.

  • Woman-led and operated non-profit organization
  • Operating in a facility that serves as a combination creative studio, collection point, and recycling center located in Larimer, a low-income neighborhood in Pittsburgh, PA. Continuous environmentally responsible improvements are being considered and implemented once they have the funding
  • Providing plastic reduction education through community support, events, and activities to reduce and reuse. As a solution provider for recycling difficult-to-collect #4 and #5 plastics, Reimagined Recycling sorts, melts, and repurposes raw recycled materials into useful goods for a second life
  • Utilizing a multi-step recycling process, ensuring little-to-no material waste by 1.) collecting, cleaning, and sorting containers for re-use or donation to another, responsible organization, 2.) shredding re-usable material in bits, organized by type and color, 3.) creating new useful forms and shapes (e.g., home goods and products for the built environment) by melting the plastic safely to a temperature that does not release any toxins into the air
  • Educating communities on responsible recycling practices and repurposing materials into functional, high-quality products. Creating products for the built environment will engage communities in the recycling/recrafting process and ensure transparency and accessibility in their operations
  • Engaging volunteers, who are encouraged to visit the space and engage in the recycling process

Learn more about Monmade’s holistic approach to sustainability.