Russel Gehrke, author of Recycling Projects for the Evil Genius, is the kind of guy who appreciates a challenge. He takes someone else’s problem or question and sees it as an opportunity create something useful. He takes an engineer’s understanding of how things work and applies an inventor’s spark to see how things might work better, work in a different application, or work for a different user. In that respect, the word “genius” in the title is appropriate. In this book, Gehrke assembles a collection of projects with an environmental theme. While many of these feature the recycling of post-consumer products, the title doesn’t capture the full range of what is offered here.
The first three projects teach the reader how to manufacture wafer board from mixed plastics, cut those boards into dimensional lumber, and construct a birdhouse from that lumber. You may not believe you would dare to attempt such a thing. However, the background information provided, combined with the detailed material lists, safety tips, and step-by-step instructions will have you cheerfully melting plastics on a cookie sheet in your kitchen oven. That is the evil genius part of this book!
There are also 101 quick tips on how to reuse everything from aluminum foil (to clean your barbeque grill) to spent fabric softener sheets (to clean soap and hard water stains from shower doors). There are also instructions on composting and making your own non-toxic household cleaners.
This is only a sampling of what this book contains. If you are a parent, teacher, scout leader, or other adult who is interested in fun projects that help young people learn about biology, chemistry, earth science, and the world in which they live, you will find a lot of useful experiments and instructions in this book.