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

Product Development with Monmade

With Green Leap, Ashley experimented with larger products suited for the built environment, like floating shelving. Since producing Reimagined Recycling’s shelving prototypes (shown below), Ashley is improving the product’s overall design and function. With larger equipment, Reimagined Recycling will also be able to readily supply larger sheets of pressed plastic material in creative colorful mixes to the design professionals and producers for incorporation into their custom solutions like furniture and fixtures.

“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

New Product Collaboration

Since producing Reimagined Recycling’s shelving prototypes, Ashley is improving the product’s overall design and function. She’s also worked with Brian Ferrell Designs to develop Bloom Pendants. The pendants marry Reimagined Recycling’s Confetti Mix Material Sheets with Brian’s contemporary reclaimed wood forms.

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.

Bright Ideas

Brian Ferrell Designs’ Bloom Pendants utilize sheets of pressed plastics from Reimagined Recycling, finding a new use for materials that otherwise often pollute the environment. He formed the plastic sheets and laminated reclaimed maple plywood to create the large biophilic-inspired accent lighting.

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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. 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 org., 2.) shredding re-usable material, organized by type and color, 3.) creating new useful forms and shapes by melting the plastic safely to a temperature that does not release any toxins into the air.
  • Engaging volunteers and educating communities on responsible recycling practices and repurposing materials. Creating products for the built environment will engage communities in the recycling/recrafting process and ensure transparency and accessibility in their operations.

Learn more about Monmade’s holistic approach to sustainability.