When he was a still a student, M. R. Sreenivasulu started collecting pen refills from his friends. At the beginning, it was just a hobby spurred on by his interest in the environment, but he soon turned this hobby into “Say No to Plastic,” an outreach program for schools and colleges.
The goal was to raise awareness for global warming and recycling, but Sreenivasulu also set up collection boxes for used pen refills. Since the pen refills are made of plastic, they aren’t as disposable as we treat them. Sreenivasulu wanted to change the way people thought about them. Students, he reasoned, must go through a lot of pens.
So far he’s collected over 7,000 used pen refills through the program. But what to do with them? He knew he wanted to reuse them, and since he had an interest in architecture and model making, he decided he would use them to build landmarks.
He began making the sculptures in 2007, working for 8 months to complete the Eiffel Tower. Since then he has used 4,150 used pen refills to recreate a number of other monuments: Charminar, Big Ben, Taj Mahal, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Gateway of India, Seattle Space Needle, and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. And he doesn’t plan on stopping there. Sreenivasulu plans on recreating all of the world’s monuments from pen refills, a goal that could take the rest of his life to accomplish and could potentially save a lot of pen refills from a landfill.
Besides building monuments, though, Sreenivasulu is working on finding other ways to transform spent pen refills. The material can be mixed in with cement to create bricks and paving stones for pathways, for example. The point is to rethink how we treat all those so-called “disposable” items made of plastic. You can see more of Sreenivasulu’s work on his Facebook page.