I am glad to report that my hand me down Mac is still chugging along after three years since I inherited it. And if breaks, I know I’ll upgrade to a newer one and trade this one in. But if I had to throw it away, I know where to send it; Debby Arem Designs, a shop on Etsy that recycles computer parts into various geeky accessories.
I found Debby Arem Designs on Etsy while looking for a teacher’s gift a few years ago. I thought the shop’s concept of recycling computer components was a great way of prolonging their demise of ending up in landfills. Debby reuses computer parts to create unique ‘geekery’ jewelry and accessories for the home and office that are sometimes whimsical or abstract and sometimes purely decorative or quite functional. She is a perfectionist and fascinated by detail, texture and color when creating her pieces so you know you are getting a good quality product when you buy from her shop.
I caught up with Debby, interrupting her usual busy day, to ask a few questions.
1. How long you’ve been green crafting?
My husband and I have been green crafting since 1992 when we first launched our company Three Ring Circuits – a company that repurposes discarded circuit boards into new products.
2. What is your favorite material to recycle into a functional eco-goodie?
Our favorite material, of course, to recycle into a functional eco-goodie (either purely decorative or functional AND decorative), is circuit board that is about to be destroyed. We’ve made it our mission over the past 19 years to save as many as possible while trying to come up with as many new uses for them as possible as well!
3. What new crafting methods would you like to learn?
My list is long. I think, starting with weaving (I’m already an avid knitter), working in silver, and stained glass. But as I gaze at my screened in porch and the swarm of stink bugs that are clinging to every inch of screen, a way to re-purpose these nasty bugs into something useful might be a nice new craft to learn! But then I had the same thought when we had our cicada invasion – the one that comes every 17 years. Those bugs at least were attractive with their iridescent bodies. Stink bugs….. well they just have an interesting shape and texture…… trying to look on the positive side here.
4. What is your best upcycled crafting project used in the most creative and ingenious way?
Our best upcycled crafting project I think has to be our recycled circuit board bookmarks which are actually made using the inner layers which make up a circuit board (these are thin layers of epoxy resin material and there can be upwards of 20+ of these in a circuit board!) We found a way to upcycle them into bookmarks and it’s probably the product we’ve sold the most of over the past number of years. We’ve even had people buy them for wedding and Bar Mitzvah favors where we can attach an individual’s special label before we laminate them!
5. Do you have a business selling your green crafts and if yes, what is your shop’s name?
Our business was first started under the name of “Three Ring Circuits”. But on Etsy, our shop goes by the name of Debby Arem Designs. I also have a vintage beads shop and a jewelry shop.
[Photo by Debby Arem Designs.]