Salvage List Image

By Gordana Maric

In the spirit of rhetoric, one must understand and invoke the power of conservation not only on a micro level, but as well as the macro level to say the least. Challenging consumerism almost tastes like a coy taboo reluctant to find its way on the menu of capitalism.

The beauty of this is that challenging consumerism and embodying sustainability doesn’t have to mean putting a $1,000 security deposit towards the Tesla Model 3; this very idea can be challenged and nurtured in the smallest of forms through recycling, repurposing, and being a sublime salvager.


Being environmental friendly can be less about hugging trees and more about turning that old wooden placemat into a chic and decorative wall art.

Saving the planet may seem like a big commitment, but what if it didn’t come in such a heavy-bearing package and instead arrived at your doorstep in a more familiar form.

Repurposing has long made its victorious identity and is now even stronger with e-commerce platforms such as Etsy and the thousands of DIY pinterest boards. Hipster or not, repurposing holds great value towards sustainable efforts, and the options for its new purpose can be limitless. 

To measure the value on a personal level is the pursuit of mental growth; the seed of creativity is nurtured and it provides a safe space of limitless possibilities. Mentally, a sense of selflessness finds its way to settle in and redefine materialistic value. Economically, it makes sense to give life to that dusty old wash board in grandma’s closet rather than bathing in the dirty water of over-consumption.  There is something significant, too, about teaching the next generations about the importance of converting what is already there into reusable material and decreasing the deathly spiral of natural resource extraction.

glass bottle

There are many ways to pursue the salvage path; whether you drink wine or cut wood, inspiration finds its way through the smallest of cracks. For the wine enthusiasts, who would have thought last night’s empty bottle(s) of cab could look so chic after being cut in half. The bottom half of the bottle can be used as a holder to plant succulents. Add a piece of charcoal at the bottom before the soil – a trick used to absorb the result of over-watering; this way, no holes are needed at the bottom of the bottle. The top half has potential for minimalistic décor as a vase for a single few flowers – or trim spiral eucalyptus and put it by your bedside to wake up to the exhilaratingly fragrant smell it gives off.

Local maintenance crews trim trees and leave the wood scraps to be picked up and chipped away. Before this happens, take one of those wooden stubs and sand it down to find your next de rigueur end table. Wood has so much simplicity and value to it. A beaten down, wooden window frame on the side of the road found its way on the wall to encapsulate the essence of doilies crocheted 30+ years ago.

Who said window frames are only to frame open spaces? To influence earthy tones in your space, wood paired with ocean blues and pine top greens call for a grounding feel.


Kitchen ware has reached a point in time where it has broken out of the stigma of solely kitchen use. Wooden placemats find greater comfort on walls to establish aesthetic coordination. Utensils designated for scooping and measuring implicate a tasteful touch of kitchen wall art. Speaking of being in the kitchen, empty jars from jams and artichokes are perfect for planting succulents and plants. Not only jars, but any other random kitchen ware that has an open space can be repurposed to a humbling new home for Jade Plant, purple Echeveria, basil, etc.

Let’s face it, sustainability is partly about being retro, but who said making it happen couldn’t be done in good taste. The thing about the 21st century is the inevitable demand for more environmental-friendly intentions. It’s time to start viewing the immense power of even the smallest of our actions. Whether you’re making a trendsetting fashionable statement by shopping at secondhand stores or you’re simply creating innovating wall art from the hopelessly forgotten sushi rolling mats, decreasing our environmental footprint should be enough of a marketing effort to spark the intention of making the Earth a little better than we received it.

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Images by Gordana Maric


May 10, 2016