Meet the Artist Who Paints with Recycled Plastic

Artist Mbongeni Buthelezi uses melted plastic to create beautiful works of art.

We’ve seen lots of creative uses of waste plastics: from hydroponic planters to private floating islands. None of these ideas are going to solve the issue of plastic pollution – there’s just too much of it – but each reinforces the notion of reuse rather than “one and done” disposal. So, when I saw artist Mbongeni Buthelezi’s story on BBC News, I had to share: this Johannesburg resident has come up with a very creative means to recycle plastic into artwork.

Artist Mbongeni Buthelezi uses melted plastic to create beautiful works of art.

The short version: Buthelezi melts strips of colored plastic from bags and films onto a surface (also made from plastic). But, as you’ll see in the video above, that totally understates his process of creation. His method also makes art creation widely available – while not everyone may be able to afford traditional art materials, we can all gather waste plastic.

The only concern I’d have with this method involves the emissions created by melting the plastic: I’m guessing they’re not particularly healthy, and would love to see Buthelezi wearing a mask. His work, though, is stunning…

Know of other artists who recycle plastic in a similar manner… or a completely different one? Point them out to us in the comments!

Republished with permission from Sustainablog.

Written by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

is the founder and editor ofsustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at

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