updated 04/19/2010 AT 7:27 PM ET
•originally published 04/19/2010 AT 3:40 PM ET
As hip New Yorkers mingled in a downtown art gallery space, they leaned over a bright green lamp base that snaked its way up to the shade. Created by designer and HGTV fixture Kahi Lee, the lamp wasn’t just green in color, it was also eco-friendly, made out of repurposed cat food cans.
Lee, the host of the gallery event, had “can-structed” the creation for the new Friskies and Fancy Feast recycling campaign, Together We Can, as had other celebrities like Jennie Garth, Peter Facinelli and Roberta Flack. The pieces – which range from sculpture to jewelry – will be up for auction on eBay today through April 29.
“It was a no-brainer for me to participate in this project,” Lee tells PEOPLEPets.com. “I’m a cat lover. I have four cats. They’re like my babies. I have a design background, so making things and doing craft projects is another passion of mine. And I try to design as eco-friendly as possible. The three loves of my life were brought together with this.”
Recycling soda cans and bottles has become second nature for most of us, but recycling pet food cans doesn’t seem to have permeated the cultural consciousness – less than 20 percent of aluminum pet food cans are recycled each year.
Of her four rescues (Jack, Ruben, Smokey and Lulu), only one gets wet food, and Lee had already been recycling those cans. For her lamp, Lee kept the shape of her cans intact, and created a functional piece that was inspired by a coiled-up cat’s tail.
As for the auction, Lee will be watching closely to see how high the bids for her lamp go.
“I am super competitive!” Lee says. “I will be putting the word out to family and friends to make sure that I come out on top.”
She has even challenged Nurse Jackie star Peter Facinelli, who created a motorcycle figurine out of can parts, to an auction battle.
“He has a slight advantage over me – he has over a million followers on Twitter, and I have 12,000 – but I’m up for the challenge!”
The Together We Can campaign hopes to encourage pet owners to toss their cans in the other bin in an effort to do more for the planet. Just one recycled 3-ounce aluminum can has the power to light a 60-watt bulb for over two hours. With Earth Day coming up this week, there’s no better time to start than now.