Worldwide, consumers toss 20 to 50 million metric tons of electronics each year. That’s more than 5% of all municipal waste. In the U.S. alone, we generate 3.41 million tons of e-waste a year, only about 30% of which gets recycled. The rest ends up in landfill and incinerators.
One clever way to reuse old tech gear: turn it into decor. In Tokyo, the firm of Japanese starchitect Kengo Kuma plastered the inside of a restaurant with colorful electronic cables. Strewn from one corner to the next and wrapped around chairs, the cables–mostly recycled ethernet cords–make Tetchan look like a playroom coated in silly string. The upcycling continues at the bar, with stools and table tops made of acrylic that’s leftover from the clear panels that car companies make to protect speedometers. At Tetchan, the only waste you have to feel guilty about is the rice you couldn’t finish.