Economic progress and increased consumption are determining an exponential growth in waste, with devastating effects on our environment and our health. We can all contribute to improving the health of our planet with small but important gestures such as transforming waste into materials that can be reused. The problems resulting from disposal in landfills are reaching worrying proportions: it is not only a strong economic impact but the most serious damage is caused by the release of harmful substances into the environment which have a serious impact on the air, water and land. For things to get better, the change must start from each of usin our homes, in our small way.
Rulof he knows this and has long been a spokesperson for the art of recycling.
He is 35 years old and has been for 16 years shares on the web his passion for recycling and inventions. Since he was a child he has always made his own toys and now that he has grown up he creates his own furniture and everything that concerns his interests (kites, bicycles, fishing rods etc.). Its mission is to spread the reuse of objects destined for landfill as much as possible. In fact, nowadays consumerism rules us and it is easier to buy a new object rather than repair the old one or even try to build everything from scratch. His dedication brought him to TV where he hosted more than 4 programs related to DIY and recycling. He is also working on a line of designer furniture based on ecology and creative recycling.
“For years I have been trying to give life back to objects destined for landfill. For me creativity is simply finding connections between things. And when they don’t match… I can always use my super strength to fit them together to the millimeter!”
I had the chance to interview him, questions and answers below
Recycling is your life philosophy, a real mission. How did this attitude arise in you?
I have a great gift, that of seeing beyond; when I have an object in my hands I can see all its potential. The shapes, the materials, all the components hidden inside and magically everything matches with the thousand projects I have in mind. In fact, before starting a project I wait to find the perfect component. My car is the incubator of my ideas. When I find discarded objects, I keep them in my car for about ten days, during which time I analyze and think about their potential.
Often projects are also born in the opposite way: I imagine the finished project of the object itself and not vice versa. I’ll give you a quick example; once I had a classic padlock in my hands and from there I imagined everything else, that is, an spearfishing rifle. The lock would have been a great trigger system operated by the key itself.
It seems to me that you have dismantled more than 3000 appliances; What are the creations you are most proud of?
All those linked to the marine world, in fact even though I live in Turin where there is no sea, I have the sea in my heart. I was born in Sardinia where I spend every summer. The project I’m most proud of of all was an air dome anchored to the seabed; It consisted of a clear vinyl tarp held in place with a large metal hoop and a set of strong guy ropes. I was able to anchor everything 10 meters deep and fill the entire structure with air bubbles with a pump. Afterwards I was able to dive and enter this submerged dome full of fresh air. I ate a sandwich and watched the fish for 15 minutes while comfortably submerged.
How much can we really save by recycling?
Great question. When I start a new project I generally set myself a budget of €40 as an expense. Obviously By knowing the area you can save a lot; Second-hand shops, fairs, flea markets etc… are great points of reference. One of my favorite places where I draw objects and ideas is certainly the souk market in Turin, a slightly dilapidated environment but which has always brought excellent business. Returning to your question: for me DIY is not just work but also a lifestyle. I built the kitchen at home myself with all the objects I found around, even the desk from where I’m replying to you now is the result of an expert assembly of objects destined for the landfill. The savings and satisfaction are infinite.
In your opinion, how are we in Italy from this point of view? Do you think we have a good awareness of what we can and cannot recycle and how do you see us compared to other nations?
In my opinion in Italy in recent years also thanks to the introduction of the domestic division of waste by materials, we have certainly all come closer to a green idea but big cities still lack the idea of recycling and reconstructing objects for a simple reason: space to work. While abroad or in the countryside every house has a garage or garden where you can build or paint, these spaces in our cities are limited. Imagine that I was the first to start building objects in my room, then invading my mother’s kitchen… and creating great discussions. Looking in general at the Italian situation precisely from the logistical point of view of waste disposal and reuse, this mentality has made our country great by leading it to think outside the box with brilliant intuitions. He has created new jobs, new companies that take objects or raw materials destined for landfill and retransform or revalue them.
What do you think of the new generations? Do you think they understand that the future of the Planet is in our hands and that we are about to reach the point of no return?
The new generations have all my respect for their activism, for their care of the environment, for animals, for their interest in politics and their future. They are right to be so active because they are driven by great uncertainty and fear of the future. Climate change is evident today. First of all, I made a video report on the summit of the Mont Blanc glacier. The new generations, unlike us, have great power in their hands which comes from free information provided by social media and the internet, sometimes contrasted by private information which has very different interests. They will always have my support.
What are your next projects?
For now I’m working on creation of a room for my videos entirely furnished in reverse where I will present my videos upside down. I’m also looking for an assistant to put an innovative object on the market for us DIY lovers… in short my brain never stops. In fact, every week I come up with new ideas to keep in check and I force myself to focus on one thing at a time; one of my biggest problems is having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder which causes me to not be able to focus on one thing at a time. But I’ve been working on it for several years, in fact I’ve understood how to set up my days by giving myself priorities.
2030 is approaching; will we all be able to become a little more virtuous and reach the goals set by the UN?
I give it my all! For this 2030 I have taken as my mission communication for the CNA (National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium Enterprises) where we want to connect small artisans who perhaps have processing waste destined for landfill at the end of the month. If they talked to each other they would discover that instead of being seen as material to be thrown away it could be seen as a resource. Let’s imagine a craftsman who produces springs for beds: at the end of the month some springs arrived defective and could be taken by another craftsman to build, for example, artistic chandeliers. This would benefit everyone, especially the environment. I have every confidence that we will be able to reach the goals set by the UN.