Many people think the only way to be green is to do it all or do nothing. It’s really not about taking on every challenge to reduce your impact on the planet. Collectively, if we are all more aware of the resources we use and make small decisions to use less, it will add up. A good reminder is, although the United States makes up about five percent of the world’s population, we consume about 24 percent of the world’s energy. That means, one American uses the same amount of resources as thirteen people from China, or 31 people from India. When we use so many resources, cutting our use in any way, helps. Reminding yourself that there are a variety of ways to have less of an impact is key to finding your own way to be green.
This past week I met some creative souls, bringing trashed materials back to life in new products, right here in the Dallas area. Rachel Spire and Lauren Lay launched ReGeared in January of 2011. ReGeared creates hand crafted one of a kind pieces for your home, office, workplace or special event from “as much recycled material as they can get their hands on.” Which, after walking through their backyard full of about 40 scrapped bikes, buckets of bike chains, gears and piles of salvaged wood, is a lot. They work with local bike shops, pick up materials, use a tumbler filled with walnut shells to clean off gear, that will be made into a clock, a Texas flag, a one of a kind picture frame, or eye catching jewelry.
Spire learned her craftsmanship working as a furniture designer in the Dallas Design District for about ten years. Spire describes her hands on learning, “To be a better designer, it’s better to get back there with the guys and learn how to build.” Now, she seeks to use her skills learned to make creative products from trashed items. Spire describes her passion, “Seeing what pieces are beings discarded and how can we make that into something again, that’s kind of the heart of everything.”
ReGeared began as a side project to earn some cash for Spire’s Team in Training project but as more and more people wanted custom designs their business took off. Today, ReGeared’s work, from beer taps to classy tables, can be seen in several restaurants across Dallas, including Luck in Trinity Groves. I stopped by Luck and hopped behind the bar to see their hand crafted beer taps at work. Seeing the projects from inception at their shop to working art in the restaurant really inspires a sense that we all can do this on a small scale. It just takes some creativity. What do we trash that can be repurposed as something else or if we need something in our lives, how can we make it with materials we already have?
It turns out, the owners of Luck really made these environmental choices a priority when building their restaurant that opened in October of 2013. Jeff Dietzman, one of the co-founders of Luck, said, “We were building the restaurant from the ground up, so we could do anything we wanted with it, so we definitely wanted to use as much reclaimed wood and metals and use local artists and vendors.”
Every once and a while you need a creative reminder that being green doesn’t mean you hug trees everyday, it means you care to make a conscious decision to use less resources. This can take shape in many ways in your life from a side project to a major portion of your business. Everyday each American produces about four pounds of trash. How will you rethink your trash?
To learn more about ReGeared and browse their work visit etsy.com/shop/ReGEARED.
As seen in the Katy Trail Weekly.