Repurposed Play: Upcycled Editions of Classic Board Games

Introducing a range of games that breathe new life into sustainable materials, especially discarded ones, turning what was once waste into sources of joy. From block-building games like Jenga to a unique homage with an upcycled version of Mahjong tiles, and the eco-friendly edition of Monopoly that showcases economics with sustainability, to a free recycling initiative to reduce waste—our list features creatively designed upcycled games that encourage cognitive thinking and promote conscious habits through mindful engagement.


Upcycled Fabric Offcuts

An exceptionally unique upcycled project breathes new life into the centuries-old game of Mahjong. The Edit Mahjong Set - An Ode to Mahjong is an upcycled version of one of the oldest games still relevant today, originally developed in the 1800s in southern China and later became globally popular. This sustainable homage to the classic game was crafted by Hong Kong-based womenswear brand 'Edit' in partnership with the design studio 'Editecture'. To address the tons of fabric discarded in Hong Kong, they created a limited edition set with Mahjong tiles made from fabric offcuts, repurposing 30 kg of waste fabric for this project. The set is 100% biodegradable, featuring handcrafted walnut wood mixed with upcycled materials, making the tile game sustainable, and addressing waste in relation to this beloved game.

(Image credit: Edit x Editecture - The Mahjong Set: An Ode to Mahjong)


Upcycled Marine Plastic Waste

Japanese designers Shoma Furui and Kem Kobayashi collaborated through Shoma Furui's WHOD design studio to create the innovative stacking game "Debris." This game was crafted using upcycled marine plastic waste collected from Makuhari Beach in Japan. "Debris" is a balance game featuring upcycled blocks that display vibrant, colourful patterns that represent various forms of trash in a creative, thought-provoking design. The designers describe the game as an echo of the ecosystem, aiming to bring smiles and reconnect people while addressing critical environmental issues, and as a reminder to be conscious of the environment through this game.

(Image credit: WHOD Design Debris Upcycled Game)


Discarded Plastic and Wood

Intops, a Korean manufacturing company, addressed the issue of plastic waste through their sustainable 'Revive' project by creating an upcycled version of the game Jenga, called Tower Blocks. This game, aimed at reducing carbon footprints, is crafted from discarded materials such as plastic and wood, which have been transformed into minimalist, aesthetically pleasing tower blocks featuring a nature-inspired design. Their eco-friendly initiative focuses on raising landfill awareness and promoting creative reuse of waste materials to encourage players in a fun and responsible way.

(Image credit: Intops Tower Blocks Revive Project)


Discarded Fishing Nets Jenga Game

Bureo is a unique company that repurposes discarded fishing nets from Chile into zero waste products. One of their innovative transformation is Jenga Ocean, crafted from these recycled nets as part of an effort to protect marine life and the ocean. Bureo proudly announced that Jenga Ocean is the world's first board game made entirely of discarded fishing nets. Each box of the game is said to prevent approximately 1 kg of ocean net waste from polluting the seas. Through this initiative, Bureo attempts to mindfully clean and repurpose ocean waste, transforming it into a stream of conscious play, protecting the oceans.

(Image credit: Bureo Jenga Ocean Collection)


Recycled Game Set with Sustainable Trading

The widely known U.S. game Monopoly, which made economics fun, became even more unique, when this trading game had introduced Go Green Edition in 2021 to encourage sustainability. Themed 'Green Up to Clean Up', this edition of Monopoly encourages players to create a greener world. It is crafted from eco-friendly materials such as 100% recycled paper for the game board, money, cards, and packaging. The game also features sustainable elements like plant-based plastic tokens made from sugarcane and responsibly sourced wood blocks. This version aims to serve as an effective awareness tool for teaching sustainable practices.

(Image credit: Monopoly Go Green Edition)


Recycling Damaged Toys and Games

Hasbro, a multinational American toys and games company known for famous games like Monopoly, Ouija boards, Transformers, G.I. Joe, and many other board games and toys, has a sustainable recycling program in partnership with TerraCycle, a U.S.-based recycling and waste management company. This initiative is a free national recycling program that collects only broken or damaged toys and games. These broken items are processed and segregated into collections, which are then turned into materials for new products. Hasbro claims this program gives well-loved toys and games a brand new life, preserving memories with sustainable measures.

(Image credit: Hasbro Toys and Games Recycling Program)

These eco-friendly games infuse a unique and mindful touch into indoor gaming, transforming your leisure time into something more thoughtful and creative. With popular games receiving sustainable, upcycled makeovers, they will not just raise environmental awareness, but such games also intend to become dinner table conversations that could spark the beginning of a healthier planet and more sustainable practices. These initiatives show how playtime can be both fun and a force for good.

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