My partner and I were on a tight budget while preparing for our bicycle tour adventure, but I needed some larger panniers for my bike. Good quality panniers can cost 60 dollars a piece or more, and that much money could buy a lot of burritos on the road. The solution? I made my own panniers out of the plastic buckets that kitty litter is sold in. I got this idea from a youtube video posted by Paul Wheaton, in which he interviewed some bicycle tourists in Missoula, Montana who were also traveling on a budget. I decided I would make my own version of the panniers that were removable, and document the construction to share with the world so others can make their own low cost homemade panniers. They work great for bicycle touring, or for just carrying your veggies home from the farmer’s market.
Re-using an item that previously would have been thrown away is commonly called up-cycling. It is taking a low value item and modifying or using it in a way that adds value and function. In permaculture there is no concept of waste. Every output from an element, such as empty kitty litter containers, should be the input for another element or system, such as panniers for the bicycle you use for transportation. Any output that does not function as an input somewhere else and begins to accumulate becomes pollution. In our current culture, nearly every home is constantly producing pollution in the form of a full trash bin set on the curb. The landfills and dumps of the world are huge deposits of unused resources that have now become pollution. Up-cycling items is a great way to capture resources before they become pollution, not to mention a good way to save money. I’m certain there are countless other ways to up-cycle these kitty litter buckets. What are some ways in which you have practiced up-cycling? Leave a comment below.