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Kicking Can

2012 June 13

By: Christina Motilall

Boy sits in chair made of used soda cans.

A throne of recycled cans

After a hard day’s work, it is important to go home and put your feet up. Maybe even pop the tab on your favorite soft drink and relax a bit. But what if you took your empty can and added it not to your recycling bin, but to your home décor?

This is the idea behind Franklin Middle School student Samuel Roman’s Pop Can Chair.

Samuel built the chair out of pop cans for ‘Use or Lose it!” an ‘upcycling’ competition sponsored by an EPA research laboratory in Oregon. ‘Upcycling’ means taking objects normally seen as trash and making something new and practical out of them.

In this case, Samuel used pop cans (472 to be exact) that he collected from recycling bins in the neighborhood. He assembled the cans with hot glue and rubber bands, making a seat fit for an environmentally-aware king.

When asked why he decided to take on this project, Samuel said “I chose to make a chair out of cans because it is useful.” And he couldn’t be more right. The option to reduce waste by reusing items is a very useful opportunity at our disposal. As a bonus, it also has economic value.

Samuel figured this out from the chair’s inception though, noting his chair’s utility when saying “You don’t have to go to the store and buy a very expensive one. You can just make your own by collecting cans.”

Recycled trophies

Three outstanding projects were awarded trophies made of recycled materials.

Samuel’s chair is environmental-conscious and economical. No wonder it was named an Outstanding Project by judges at a reception hosted at EPA. Samuel received an ‘upcycled’ trophy and recognition by local leaders such as Corvallis, Oregon mayor Julie Manning and EPA lab director Tom Fontaine.

But the most important thing I am sure is on everyone’s mind is… how do I get one of these chairs? The answer may already be in your recycling bin.

About the author: Christina Motilall is an intern for the Office of Research and Development’s Science Communications Team.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. Myron Katz permalink
    June 13, 2012

    More should be said about the severe dangers to people who drink the liquids from those cans. This stuff breeds diabities. It comes primarily from High Frutose Corn Syrup — the output of a disasterous use of quality farm land to grow corn that subtantially is inedible. EPA should be working to stop this waste of farm land, natural resources and threats to human health instead of lauding the use of cans that shouldn’t exist in the first place!

  2. Joan permalink
    June 21, 2012

    Great job Samuel! It is worth noting that Samuel didn’t drink all those sodas himself; he found them in a recycle container and took th opportunity to use them in his project. I think he deserves applause, regardless of whether you think people should drink sodas or not.

  3. July 31, 2012

    LOL. If I drank all those and then attempted sitting on it, I would come down to the ground with all those can within a microsecond. But its good to collect it from recycle and put them to use, rather its great! Good joB!

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