Circular economy

Cycle and Recycle, a photographic book celebrates recycling

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

The 101 shots by the Belgian artist Paul Bulteel redeem the beauty of garbage reborn to new life.

Spirals of psychedelic colours, kaleidoscope-like geometric shapes, gigantic anthropomorphic masses and parallelepipeds stuck in ways that recall Lego or Tetris. It is the art of recycling captured by the watchful eye of photographer Paul Bulteel, who redeems the beauty of garbage reborn to new life with an unusual project.

Cycle&Recycle, this is the name of the project, is a collection of 101 shots depicting the collection and recycling of a multitude of products and materials. The image gallery has also become a book released in January 2016, currently only in English.

Waste is part of our daily life, just like the air we breathe. If it is managed poorly, it destroys habitats, pollutes air and water and threatens our health. But what does recycling mean? Although this word is familiar to everybody, hardly anyone can have a mental image of what this process actually implies.

This is why Bulteel decided to tell by pictures what happens to paper, metals, glass, plastics, appliances, clothes and other products when they arrive at the end of their life and are transformed into new materials.

To do so, the photographer visited about 50 waste collection, sorting, treatment and reusing plants in Belgium, a nation that boasts one of the highest recycling rates in the world, but also in Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and France. The goal was not to document waste volumes and flows, but rather to illustrate the efforts to recycle waste on an unprecedented scale.

Most photos represent piles of plastic, metal, appliances and paper, all wrapped, rolled or stacked. The shots are accompanied by captions that explain the process in action. The result is baffling and impressive, with surprising shapes and colours that suggest a return from chaos to order.

As Bulteel emphasizes, this project was a completely independent and individual initiative. The book Cycle&Recycle was published by art publisher Hatje Cantz and will be available starting from January 2016 on this website.

Here you can view a gallery of some of the most significant photographs.

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