How to make a bed from recycled paint cans

IMG_0033IMG_0026

Ok, here it is, as promised, the bed from recycled paint cans, sticky tape, and cardboard!  IMG_0003

Let me make it clear, I am not trying to set myself up as some kind of self professed DIY guru (although maybe I should start a blog site called just that…) or trying to turn this blog site into a site about how to make things out of recycled stuff. Of course my daughter has visions of becoming an overnight internet sensation from this post.  If enough people want a bed out of junk, maybe she will!

I am simply a mum living in a place where furniture is expensive, money is tight, and there is so much that is discarded that is actually useful.  I am often a woman on the edge, wondering how I am going to maintain a lifestyle that I want the kids to have in a country like Fiji where money is always tight.

IMG_0009I am also concerned constantly with the perception here of what is actually “trash” or “rubbish” as once something is discarded it is immediately viewed as that.  All of the paint cans, lids and cardboard that I used would have otherwise ended up in landfill, a problem for my kids to have to worry about in their lives – heavy metals, paints etc leaching into the mangroves and the sea.  Living in an island nation in the middle of the Pacific, the prospect of an ocean full of toxins and rubbish, and void of fish is actually frightening.  I have once seen a fridge floating in Suva Harbour. 

Our live in family recently increased from me, my husband and one teenager; to me, my husband and three teenagers.  The two new teenagers arrived from Australia with a suitcase each that was filled with nothing that is actually useful in Fiji a land of alternating mud and dust – no towels, no toothbrushes, no sheets, just video games and high heels it seemed IMG_0014to me.  Frustration and despair got me nowhere, but I must admit I felt it keenly.

Anyway, with two extra kids, and no extra money or furniture, I had to pull myself together and see what I could come up with.  If only I could work out a way to spin a towel or a sheet set from spiderwebs and butterfly tears, my world would be complete!

I didn’t, but I did manage with the help of my 15 year old daughter to make her a bed using only the below.  IMG_0012The hardest part was being disciplined enough to pick up the stuff when I saw it in the dumpster and take it home, and to stop my family from trying to “tidy up my junk” every Saturday where they would try and put it all kinds of places to get it out of the way.  Also, my nieces and nephews were constantly using the paint lids as frisbees and hurling them down the hill where I would often find them a week later.

I used:

  • 50 used paint cans (you could substitute large juice cans)
  • 4 rolls of packing tapeIMG_0002
  • 3 regular cardboard boxes
  • 1 cardboard box from a large electrical appliance
  • 8 recycled coke bottle lids
  • some of the white plastic binding tape that they use for packing white goods
  • about 30 small screws and a screwdriver
  • 1 thin piece of foam
  • Material to cover
  • The only things that I bought new were the screws and the packing tape and the foam, plus the material to

    IMG_0015

    cover, all the rest of it was salvaged from building sites and dumpsters, plus Jacks of Fiji Nakasi store gave us some great boxes.  The total cost of the bed was $18.

Instructions:

  • We used 50 cans in ten rows of five to fit a single mattress.
  • Lay them out to make sure it fits.
  • Make a cardboard stencil to cover 4 cans, 6 cans and 3 cans.
  • We grouped the cans into fours and sixes and then put them together as you would leggo so as to give the structure some strength.
  • We then had a group of two lots of six cans, and one lot of three cans.
  • You need a stencil for both the top and bottom of each set.  I think we used eight stencils of the 4 can set, twelve stencils of the 6 can set, and two stencils of the 3 can set.IMG_0018
  • Trace the stencils onto cardboard boxes and cut with stanley knife or scissors
  • Tape the paint cans together in sets, then tape the cardboard stencils to the top and bottom of each.
  • Then tape the leggo pieces together.
  • Lay the large cardboard on the floor and place the large leggo pieces together
  • Score the cardboard so that you can fold the extra cardboard up to make the sides of the bed.
  • Tape around the cardboard.
  • Place some cardboard boxes on the top of the bed, and cover with a piece of thin foam if you have it.
  • Lay the material/fabric on the floor overlapping so that there are no gaps if you are using pieces, and make sure that there is enough on each side to cover the sides of the bed, and fold over the bottom.
  • Turn the bed frame upside down and lay on top of the middle of the material.IMG_0019
  • Cover the base of bed with a piece of material, and fold the top material over the sides and to the bottom so that no joins will show when the bed is right side up.
  • Use a piece of white packing tape, or cardboard to get a straight line, and screw the material into the base, all folded in, using the packing tape as a guide.
  • Use some long screws, and screw the coke bottle lids into the base as small legs.
  • Turn the bed over, put on the mattress, go to sleep!IMG_0020 IMG_0022 IMG_0029IMG_0031

Rocket Stove – no kerosene needed!

stoveAnother idea for using all the tin cans we have here in Fiji – most people don’t have a fridge, and you can only normally buy fish in a big bundle which is too many to eat at once unless you are having a lovo.  Therefore most fish is eaten from a can.  Also, most people eat beef from a can, oh, and lamb from a can.  Cans everywhere.  Kerosene stoves are usual here, as gas is also expensive.  Here is an idea for a kerosene free stove for heating water and cooking a few things….

With almost half of Fijians living in poverty, this could be one part of the solution.

http://logcabincooking.com/hobo-tin-can-portable-rocket-stove-class/

Could one simple idea help solve the problem of how to get recycling going in Fiji?

 

plastic bins

Bins made out of PET bottles

Could this one simple idea be part of the solution to community education and a call to action for recycling of PET bottles and aluminum cans in Fiji?  Picture Source: http://www.designsclue.com/15-best-ideas-of-how-to-recycle-plastic-bottles/

The below photos are all taken in Suva City Fiji, Levuka (Ovalau Island, Fiji), Samabula (Suva City), Nakasi (on the Suva Nausori corridor), Nausori, Rewa River bank at Manoca Estates Nausori.  Even in the tranquil looking photographs, see if you can spot the floating PET bottles.  If you drive by, or stand on the river bank of the Rewa River, Nausori, which flows directly into Suva Harbour at Laucala Bay, you may not be aware of what lurks every 5 meters down the river bank.  Take a look over the edge, and you will see dump site after dump site of rubbish, PET bottles, recycling, cardboard, car parts, washing machines, tyres, fans, daipers.  All of this is regularly set alight (normally on Friday afternoons), or if heavy rains come, it is washed into the sea.  As the Rewa Delta is prone to flooding, at least once a year, a great proportion of this is washed into the ocean.

 

IMGP5755

Koronivia Road, Fiji

IMGP5654

Koronivia Road, Fiji, the large bag is the recycling bag provided by Coca Cola Amatil in partnership with Fiji Water – the only concession to recycling here. I had to get a taxi which cost $40 to collect the bag myself as a few weeks ago, Coca Cola would not drop them off anywhere.

IMGP0304

Makoi, near Hanson’s Supermarket, Nasinu, Fiji

IMGP2699

The alleyway between the Chinese restaurant and the Immanuel Christian Fellowship Church, Nabua, Suva City, Fiji

IMGP2467

Suva City, the sea wall near the Holiday Inn.

IMGP6707

The beach outside the Suva City Council Offices, Suva Fiji

IMGP6778

Daily Skip bin, Suva City Markets, Fiji

IMGP6698

The beach outside the Presidential Palace and Fiji Inland Revenue and Customs Authority Building, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Suva City

IMGP6696

The beach opposite the Suva City Council Buildings and Sakuna Park (near McDonalds), downtown Suva City, Fiji

Capture

My location, Koronivia, Fiji

IMGP6693

Fire burning rubbish in downtown Suva, on the sea wall area between Suva City Library and the Holiday Inn.

IMGP6686

The beach in downtown Suva City opposite the Government Office Tower

IMGP6683

Street bottle collector, Muhammad Ali, with his bags of PET bottles that he salvages from rubbish bins outside the Suva City Council Offices, the Government Towers, and the rubbish bins of Suva City. He walks miles to take these bottles back to the Coca Cola Amatil factory for $1FJD per kg, or washes them at the Mobil service station on Victoria Pde, and sells them to the juice sellers at Suva City Market.

IMGP6835

Polystyrene lunch packs and plastic bags in downtown Suva City, by the sea wall near Tiko’s floating restaurant. Every one of the white polystyrene packs say “Bula” or “Fiji” so if you see one washed up on your beach you know where it is from. Maybe they should change the words to “From Fiji with love”

IMGP7012

MH Supermarket, Nakasi, Fiji. Note the small red bucket near the door that serves as the only bin.

IMGP7003

Rubbish at the bus stop, Nakasi, Fiji

IMGP7005

Rubbish and recyclables in the drain at the bus stop, Nakasi, Fiji

IMGP7037

Fiji Water bottle floats quietly towards the sea, downtown Suva, Terry Walk, Nubukalau Creek outside MHCC department store.

IMGP7015

Garbage bags full of daipers and PET bottles dumped in Koronivia Creek at the Fiji National University, Koronivia Road, Fiji

IMGP7108

Contents of 10 garbage bags of rubbish dumped in Koronivia Creek, Fiji National University, Koronivia, Fiji

IMGP7082

Rubbish Koronivia Road, Fiji

IMGP7125

Household rubbish dumped on Kings Road, between Nakasi and Nausori, near Koronivia Research Station, and Fiji National University Farms.

IMGP7100

Plastic computer monitor disintegrates slowly in creek at Fiji National University Farm, Koronivia, Fiji

IMGP7108

Plastics mixed with household rubbish, found in creek, Koronivia Research Station Farm, Fiji

IMGP4305

Rubbish dumped over the bridge, downtown Suva, outside the fish market on Nubukalau creek.

IMGP4296

Plastic MH supermarket bag floating in Suva Harbour

IMGP4253

Coke bottles float in Suva Harbour, downtown Suva City outside Tiko’s floating restaurant

IMGP4262

Small boat moored near Tiko’s floating restaurant, downtown Suva City, with Coke bottle

IMGP4256

Plastic Coke bottle Suva Harbour

IMGP4248

Rubbish on beach in Suva City, opposite Sakuna Park and McDonalds

IMGP4225

Close up of rubbish and recyclables on beach in Suva City, opposite Sakuna Park

IMGP4215

Rubbish and recyclables on beach daily opposite Government Office Tower and Suva City Council Buildings, Suva City, Suva Harbour. Tiko’s restaurant floats in the background.

IMGP4235

Tyres and assorted rubbish and recyclables on beach in Suva City, opposite Government Buildings

IMGP4307

Private rubbish dump, Koronivia Road, Fiji. Once a week, the dump is set on fire to burn rubbish, daipers, plastics, glass, recyclables. The smell of burning plastics is overwhelming.

IMGP4468

Recyclable PET bottles flattened by vehicles at the junction of Kings Road and Koronivia Road, Fiji

IMGP4212

Rubbish and PET plastic bottles on the beach right outside the fence to the pool at the Holiday Inn, downtown central Suva City. The Suva City Council Office is also next door.

IMGP4467

Rubbish and plastic bottles dumped in Koronivia Creek, Fiji

IMGP5874

Rubbish, plastics, PET bottles, at Samabula, outside BSP bank, Fiji, near Suva City

IMGP5873

Street person sleeping in doorway of shops near BSP bank, Samabula, Suva City. At least he has recycled bottles and packaging.

IMGP5863

One of two full trucks that took away 10 tonnes of rubbish from a 5km stretch of rural road from Koronivia to Lokia, Fiji, collected in one morning by 300 volunteers.

IMGP5771

Council workers and residents with the big recycling bag – the only avenue for recycling for a very limited number of Fijians.

IMGP1377


Rubbish, PET bottles, recyclables, plastics, collect on the roadside between Nausori and Suva (this photo in Koronivia on Kings Road at FNU research farm) after being thrown from buses and cars.

IMGP1357

Large bags of rubbish and plastics are regularly dumped in creeks and drains, Koronivia, Fiji

IMGP0515

Rubbish and plastics awaiting collection to go to landfill near the beach at Levuka, Ovalau Island, Fiji. The stand is to try and keep dogs away. Children swim in the sea in the background.

IMGP0389

Rubbish, plastics, tyres wash up on the beach at Levuka, Ovalau Island, Fiji

IMGP0144

Plastic PET bottles, aluminum cans, and other rubbish is thrown into the sea at Natovi Landing, Viti Levu, Fiji. This is the place where you can get the boat from Suva to Savusavu on Vanua Levu, and Levuka, on Ovalau. There is a canteen at the landing (jetty) but no bins.

IMGP0408

Rubbish, plastics, PET, cans collect along the roadside everywhere. Photo taken on the road between Nausori and Bau landing (Viti Levu), rural Fiji.

IMGP5449

Government ship yards, Suva City, Suva Harbour, Fiji

IMGP5737 IMGP1343

IMGP1835

Rubbish, PET bottles dumped in Nausori, Manoca Estates, at the edge of the Rewa River

IMGP1903

Opposite the Mobil service station, Nausori, Fiji, Rewa River. Rubbish, plastics, PET bottles are dumped daily and burned as part of business practice.

IMGP1904

Another rubbish dump for local businesses and households on the edge of the Rewa River, Nausori, Fiji. These rubbish dumps are all along the river, spaced out by about only 5 or 10 metres.

IMGP1907

Another rubbish dump, Rewa River, Nausori, Fiji

IMGP1912

Yet another rubbish dump, banks of the Rewa River, Nausori, Fiji

IMGP1919

Five meters further down, another rubbish dump on the banks of the Rewa River, Nausori, Fiji

IMGP1920

The view from the same spot, Manoca Estates, Nausori, Fiji, on the banks of the Rewa River, if you don’t look over the side. Maybe that is why people don’t know! You can’t see the rubbish from a car or bus. Most government employees have a staff driver, and they travel in SUVs.

IMGP1911

And again, the next rubbish dump, Rewa River

IMGP1917

And another!

IMGP1914

And another!

IMGP7523

The same private rubbish dump pictured above, across the road from my home, Koronivia Fiji. This rubbish has collected since 8th June when it was cleared during the clean up. It is regularly set on fire. It contains many many PET bottles, glass bottles, aluminum cans, as well as daipers, rotting food and cardboard. This was taken yesterday 8 July. It burned for many hours and the smoke haze could be seen for kilometers. The smell is choking. This dump is directly opposite the shop that has a recycling bag, and is used by only two families.

IMGP7527

Rubbish that has accumulated from two families in Koronivia Fiji being set on fire last night, 8 July. All the rubbish has accumulated in one month. It contains plastics, PET, aluminum cans, daipers, cardboard, food waste. This is the only option for many people in Fiji. There is no rubbish collection here, and even though there is a recycling bag for these families, right at their house, they are not motivated enough to use it. People here do not see the benefit of separating rubbish.