Combine the words NEW and USED and you get NEWSED, a Tokyo-based upcyling brand that’s reshaping recycling. The project began in 2009 and slowly grew as like-minded designers joined in. “Products are developed with attention to the history and character of the original waste products,” says the group, which is currently comprised of 6 design partners.
Aside from the products that design partners have contributed, last year they opened up the process to the entire community through a contest, seeking ideas that would breathe new life into junk and remnants that usually get discarded. Winners, which included aluminum frames turned into bubble blowers and organ speakers turned into clocks, were eventually commercialized into buyable products, and are now being supplied to museum shops and boutiques.
And now the upcycled design awards are back for their 2nd year, offering cash awards (up to 100,000 yen) and a chance to see your idea turned into a product. They’re accepting entries through August 25, 2014. If you’re interested, be sure to check out their list of approved materials (PDF), which include seat belts, air bags and fabric swatches.