A Different Beat: Transforming Used Products into New Ideas

Even if you’ve never wondered what happens to all the dented, splintered and broken drumsticks of the world, it’s nice to know that two creative Japanese companies have come up with a way to re-use the detritus of drummers.

Tokyo’s Noah Sound Studio, a chain of music studios used for rehearsal and recording, provides the cast-off sticks, and Miidori, a manufacturer of wood products, turns them into writing instruments (literally), as well as memory-stick cases, key holders, and toy robots.

Thanks to the cloak of cool that the music industry wears, even its reworked remnants have a hip and ingenious air about them.

The pens and mechanical pencils have replaceable ink and graphite cores. They’re available in a selection of stains, as are the memory-stick cases. The key holders are fashioned from a pair of drumstick tips attached by braided string. According to Miidori they carry “the guardian spirit of rhythm,” provider of courage and luck.

The toy robots are no less mythical. In keeping with a rich Japanese toy tradition, the robot characters have unique attributes and can be collected.

Called Mokuseiderz, they also have a back story: Things are not looking good for planet earth, and the remaining human population has taken refuge in the last healthy corner of the planet’s ecosystem, Green Village. They’re locked in a seemingly unwinnable war against a foe that lives, breathes and spreads pollution. Enter the Mokuseiderz, guardians of the last bastion of the natural world, made from the near-holy wood of well-used drum sticks.

But the real creativity comes not in their story, but in their making.

Each robot is made up of small individual wooden parts. You can choose to order a kit and build your own or, for additional cost, choose a pre-assembled version. To see how the many tiny wooden parts fit together to form engaging robots with moveable joints is to be favorably impressed by human inventiveness (and the incredible utility of computer numerical control machines).

Re-thinking how we design, manufacture and dispose of products is a significant challenge. These two companies are solving a relatively small waste problem while reconnecting customers to the natural beauty of wood. The larger value in their story is that it may inspire others to view cast-off objects in a new light. And the Mokuseiderz themselves serve as a symbol of how the eco revolution will be won: through many small efforts that, when put together, pack a punch.

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