Old Washing Machines Clean Up Nice As Recycled Stools

Appliances like washing machines, dish washers, and refrigerators, make life a lot easier. They can also waste a lot of energy if they’re over 10 years old. These are the appliances we never unplug, so even if you’re good about waiting until the dishwasher’s full or never standing with the fridge door open, they’re still sucking lots of vampire energy from the outlet.

To avoid this unnecessary energy consumption, many advise upgrading home appliances to newer, Energy Star-compliant models. But  what happens to the old, inefficient models that get replaced? In some cases, they’re taken for recycling by the company that installs the new model, but many are still left to rust in the landfills. The designers of Junk Munkez thought this was a tremendous waste. They started plucking washing machine drums from the dumps of their native Beirut and turning them into bold furniture inspired by their Lebanese roots.


Image via L’Atelier

The designers, Xavier Baghdadi and Lea Kradokian, rescue the drums of old washing machines from an untimely fate, and then clean and paint them with bright colors. The holes of the drum, used to allow water to escape when the washing machine was in use, now serve a different purpose: Junk Munkez use the perforations like holes in a cross stitch canvas, using vivid yarns to “embroider” unique designs onto each one. As this review points out, each metal drum is then topped off with a bright and soft cushion. And because the drum’s interior is left empty, therein lies a hidden storage space for odds and ends around the house.

Since hazardous waste recycling is still such an uncertain business, it’s good to see designers taking a fresh look at these large appliances. Creating new ways of upcycling even the difficult and cumbersome items is key to keeping them out of the landfill. According to Treehugger, the stools, along with Junk Munkez’s other line, a collection of playful planters made from scrapped car parts and kitchen utensils, are on sale at L’atelier, which has been a pioneer in exhibiting recycled art in Beirut.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

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