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By Ingrid Spencer

Ecotrio, Green Being, and Trios may sound like the names of the latest New Age musical groups, but in fact they're three award-winning recycling receptacles that may soon find their way onto the streets of Chicago. They are the fruit of a competition called "reThink/reDesign/reCycle," organized by the AIA Chicago Young Architects Forum, that was created to engage the local design community in a worthy goal: to help make Chicago more environmentally friendly.

All images courtesy AIA Chicago Young Architects Forum
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"It's been a great revitalization of the thought processes surrounding recycling," says Jeffrey Missad, chair of the Young Architects Forum. "We wanted, and we got, entries that were interesting and practical and would make a person stop on the street and think about where they might put their empty bottle or can."

More than 100 entrants rose to the competition's challenge of designing a receptacle that was aesthetically pleasing, functional, and easily maintained. Creative solutions included the use of recycled elements in the designs, such as old bicycle parts or car tires; creating dual-purpose units, like a flower/planter/recycling bin; attaching recycling receptacle devices over existing trash barrels; and combining bus shelters with recycling bins.

Twenty-five finalists, which include the three winners, were chosen from the initial entries, and their built receptacles will be part of the city of Chicago's Live Green exhibition, which showcases strategies and products for recycling at home, at work, and at school. The event opens October 14 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation's CitySpace Gallery.

Cash prizes of $1,500, $1,000, and $500 were awarded to the winners, and Missad and the Young Architects Forum are currently negotiating with the City of Chicago to produce the receptacles and utilize them throughout the city.
And word is spreading. Missad says he was recently contacted by New York City officials with the intent of creating a similar competition in New York. "It was a meaningful, interactive, and fun project," he says. An idea to recycle, indeed.


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