Thursday, May 23, 2013

Iron this! - São Paulo

I love these recycled door and gate shops that line the road on the way to Raposo Tavares, a major highway here. The one pictured has some of my favorite cast iron gates and doorways. I like to imagine where they were used before being "rescued" by this store. If I were a talented artist (even untalented, or even an artist) I would create some kind of sculpture out of all of this.

São Paulo does well at recycling many things--these old cast-iron gates, and wood and old doorways frequently become furniture renewed by carefully distressed paint jobs. One of my favorite artisan studios here takes old windows and makes them into beautiful picture frames and mirrors.

I try not to think of the statistic I've read that of the items that wind up in the official recycling bins in this city, only 30% is actually recycled. I'm talking about cans, glass, plastic, cardboard and newspapers.  I still dutifully pull out my recycle bins every Friday in the hopes that the majority of it gets recycled.  But the reality is that most of it is going to wind up in the common waste.

Some of the best recyclers are the "cardboard guys" as I call them--a guy with a two-wheeled hand cart--he picks out the best from your garbage can and carts it away.  You can see them in the slow lanes of many roads (some of them major roads) with huge towers of items--you begin to wonder how they can pull all of that weight. More on the cardboard guys another day.

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