Reduce, Reuse, Restyle

Have you ever wondered how you could reduce your environmental impact?  Recycling is a great way to lessen the weight of our footsteps. We think it should be fun. We think  stringing beads can be part of the way we reduce, reuse, and recycle. We look at ways to think outside of the box and create jewelry with the very things we normally consider trash. Bottle caps can be beautiful focal  beads. Bicycle chain is a wonderful element for a bracelet for the cyclist in the family. Let's get creative!

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Close your eyes for a moment. Think about a restaurant in your neighborhood. Think about the amount of trash they must throw away every day. Think about all of the garbage after a busy lunch. Imagine how much waste is produced from every restaurant in your city from a daily meal. How much trash is tossed in the state? Imagine the whole globe. Every meal. Every customer. All of that refuse. All of the waste. It is hard to comprehend. All of the energy required to produce the resources to serve a meal. All of the elements we throw away - the bag, the clamshell containers, the paper receipts. All of it manufactured and now on its way to a garbage dump to rot in the sun. We consume and then toss aside with no consideration towards the future. Where is all of this garbage going to go? If we don't slow down now, we will reach a critical point when we can no longer contain this frivolous waste and will be pressed into action. If our disposable outlook doesn't catch up to us, our children will certainly inherit this mess.

What if production didn't have to mean a one time usage? Wouldn't it make sense to create something that has multiple opportunities to benefit us before we have to dispose of it? The clamshells, the bags, the receipts - we don't have to waste natural resources and energy for a one time go - recycling can open up an extended life for all of the things we produce. It's silly to expend so much effort on an item that will see one turn at bat and then be escorted into the trashcan.

At  Soft Flex® Company, we felt it was the time to focus on the green movement. All of the stainless steel used in the production of our wire is 100% recyclable. The nylon coating that finishes our wire was produced from renewable resources and is also recyclable. The spool our wire is stored on can be recycled. When you have used a spool and would like to recycle it, simply remove the label and place it in your recycle bin at home or you can mail the spool and any unused pieces of Soft Flex® to us and we will recycle it for you

Extreme Flex Beading Wire

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Extreme™ Flex Wire is the world's first environmentally friendly beading wire. Just like our original Soft Flex® Wire, the wire can be recycled. Extreme™ Flex Wire goes beyond that as the wire itself is free of heavy metals and is not toxic to humans or the environment. Heavy metals can be beneficial to living beings in trace amounts, but toxic in higher volumes. Heavy metals do not decay and pose a problem for the environment. They pollute soil and vegetation as they accumulate. Heavy metals used in production can be toxic as an inhalant and can find its way into water and food sources. Extreme™ Flex Wire did not use heavy metals during its production.

As a company, we have practiced recycling for a long time. Our products are shipped to the trade shows we attend in totes and cardboard boxes that are continually reused. Our packing peanuts are made from a 100% corn starch base and are 100% biodegradable. Our office engages in recycling. We recycle all paper, metal, glass, ink cartridges, electronic waste and all packing materials. We print our marketing materials and header cards on paper that contains recycled content. Whenever we can find a way to lessen our environmental footprint, we pursue it.

Recycling doesn't have to be a chore either. Often times, the things we throw away could have a second life as a piece of jewelry or an element of home decor. Think out of the box the next time you are disposing of something.

Bicycle Chain Bracelet at Becktesch's Etsy Shop

Need to make a bracelet or necklace for a male friend or family member who loves cycling? Don't toss the bicycle chain - that could lend itself to a wonderful focal bead or bracelet.

Golden Rings Earrings  Free Project Idea at Soft Flex Company

Remnant pieces of wire or beads from previous designs can have new life when incorporated into something new. Don't be too eager to throw something away, explore the possibilities before you pitch it. Have a look at some ways we have given snippets of wire new life:  Waste Not Want Not Bracelet and Golden Rings Earrings show easy to make designs with wire that might have been tossed since it was not long enough for a necklace or bracelet.

Spice Rack turned Bead Storage project at

Old spice shakers can have a wonderful second life as a container for small seed beads. If you find an old spice shaker that has large enough holes at the top, it can double as a dispenser. Anybody that has chased an army of escaped seed beads can appreciate a good holding cell for those crafty little devils. Baby food jars are also a good pint-sized bead container. If you are just feeling crafty, a baby food jar can be turned into a fun snow globe, a candle holder, or a tiny candy or snack container.

Recycled  Bottle Cap Necklace at Syncopation's Etsy Shop

There are a million focal beads that get tossed in the trash every year. Bottle caps could make a fun pendant or spacer.  Transit tokens can be drilled and put on a necklace. Watch faces can be used for a fun design. Bits and scraps of your last computer, everything from the motherboard to pieces of wire, can be turned into a geek treasure. Typewriter keys, keyboard keys, albums, magazines and comics - anything can be turned into something fun if you figure out a way to go about it.

Watch  Steampunk Bracelet by Poet Summer

Recycling also lends itself to popular 'punk' fiction sub genres. The eighties introduced cyberpunk, stories and costuming revolving around computer accessories. Diodes, chips and memory sticks turned into jewelry.  Steampunk is a popular genre. Steampunk costumes and crafting involves Victorian dress accessorized with gears and sprockets. Wind-up watches are a Steampunk favorite, open the watch and use every part of it. The designs can be as free form and non-linear as you want, there are no hard set rules. Steampunk chic can enhance cell phones or computers - just try and make your crafted piece look like it was made in the Victorian era with Victorian sensibilities.

Newspaper waste is a big part of our total waste and it has a bunch of uses better than making landfills more mountainous. Gift wrapping is an old favorite. Cleaning glass so it is streak free is another. Newspaper makes a great litter box liner. It can also remove odors when crumbled and placed in shoes or garbage cans. Anybody with a fireplace knows how valuable a bundled ball of newspaper can be when trying to feed the fire. Boiling and balling newspaper is a fun way to make beads. Newspaper can also be made into garden mulch. If you don't feel a crafty connection with newspaper, at least make sure you follow local recycling guidelines and get your newspaper out of the trashcan.

Close your eyes for a moment. Think about a restaurant in your neighborhood. Think about how incredible it would be if they reduced the amount of waste they used. Think about how efficient it would be if they reused recycled items. Think about the amount of waste that would decline each year if everybody was conscious about recycling. Think about how healthy the world will be for our children - and their children - if we implement the waste hierarchy into our everyday lives: reduce, reuse, recycle. It isn't too late to start being environmentally aware.

Join our Facebook group – VIB. Stay in the know. Stay up to date. From our bead shows to our video shows and sales, you can stay in touch with us. The community is full of artistic and helpful beaders and crafty people. Inspire and be inspired. Share your pictures and get the beading bug from others!

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Blog contributor Thomas Soles loves Jazz Age writers and crunchy French fries. His favorite gemstones are Lapis and Pietersite. His favorite hobby is day dreaming. And his favorite mustache is Freddie Mercury's. As you can see, he has a healthy (or possibly unhealthy) sense of humor. You can write to him at