Ten Practical Uses for Your Credit Cards

June 2, 2009 at 9:44 am | Posted in Pop culture, Recycling, Tips | 73 Comments

Stop using your credit cards. They’ll just get you into debt.

But wait: Don’t throw them away. Just stop using them as they were designed to be used — that is, to pay for stuff. Save the actual cards. Because they’re useful in all sorts of ways you might never have considered.

Here are ten ways we’ve repurposed our unwanted credit cards. But the possibilities are infinite. How would you use yours? Post ideas and links in the comments section below, or email pictures of your handiwork here.

(Click each photo below to see the full-size image. Card numbers are blurred; you can never be too careful these days.)

Ten Practical Uses for Your Credit Cards

Monopoly money

Picture frame

Snow goggles
snow_goggles(Also formerly known as “Eskimo sunglasses.”)

Dolls’ picnic table

Burglary tool
burglary_toolThe original alternate use for credit cards.

Golf putter
putterMake sure to have the back of the card facing outwards; otherwise, the protruding card numbers will make it hard to aim! (This really works — click here to see a video of the credit-card putter in action.)

coinageIf the economy collapses, we’ll have to use something for money.

Light-switch cover

credicopterA hand-held mini-helicopter augmented with credit cards for extra lift. Click here to see the credicopter actually flying!

Cocaine cutter
cocaine_cutterThe other original alternate use for credit cards.
(Note to law enforcement: Baking powder. Not actual cocaine.)

Thailand’s “Garbage” Library

June 2, 2009 at 7:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

60px-GFDL_Krating_Daeng_150mlAn eco-friendly library in Bangkok was created last month with scavenged “garbage” including bottles left behind after parties, boxes left behind after a fair, scrap teakwood left behind at a building site, and much more — and it’s been built in an abandoned space. In what used to be a “shophouse” — that deep narrow retail/residential structure ubiquitous in Southeast Asia — the ceiling chandelier is made from soda-pop bottles; those old boxes have been transformed into bookshelves, and those naturally beautiful teak planks hide dirty concrete walls. A broken toilet has been converted into a planter. It’s the work of Community Architects for Shelter and Environment (CASE) group, a team of Bangkok-based architects devoted to improving life for the urban poor.

CASE’s founder Patama Roonrakwit — who became interested in what she calls “slum dwellers” while studying at Oxford — told reporters at the Thai paper The Nation: “Financial limitations inspired us to make full use of recycled items.”

Last year, drawing upon the Buddhist kathin tradition — in which donating goods improves karma — Roonrakwit set up sites where people could donate used construction equipment as well as books, paper, plants, toys, housewares and pet supplies.
Many of those donations went into this community library. Total renovations took only three weeks.

The abandoned shophouse was a remnant of the formerly thriving Chinese retail community that has since moved away.

Solar-cell lamps illuminate the space, which also has a garden. Local workers and children gather to read donated books and magazines and play with donated games. Donated paintings — and artworks created by local kids — adorn the walls. The upstairs mezzanine has been outfitted with pads for lounging and meditation.

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