Art comes in many forms. It can be molded and shaped with clay or painted on canvas. There are some that would argue that art is undefinable by nature. What would you call art that comes from recycled products?…perhaps trashy? Whatever it may be called, the point we’re trying to make is that if you use creativity and imagination, you would be surprised to find what you can build with trash.
Before we get to the fun part it is important that you are familiar with recycling. What exactly happens when something is recycled? A simple definition from HowStuffWorks.com is “take something that isn’t useful anymore and make it into something new instead of just throwing it away.” This definition is very broad, but generally has it correct. Instead of ultimately making it’s way to landfills (or worse, the ocean), recycled materials are made to be reused in some form. This can be very simple such as turning an old cereal box into a decorative magazine holder or more complex, for example recycling aluminum cans instead of mining for the material from which aluminum comes. Any act of recycling can be beneficial to keep our environment clean and waste out of landfills. If you look around your house you will likely be surprised by the amount of items that you can recycle.
Items that can be recycled include:
- Aluminum cans
- Aluminum foil or bakeware
- Steel cans
- Tin cans
- Office paper
- Junk mail
- Paper cardboard dairy or juice containers
- Any color glass (clear, amber, emerald)
- Some plastics
- Some electronics
Before you start throwing your recycling items into a bin MAKE SURE THEY ARE CLEAN. This extra step can go a very long way in the recycling plants. One contaminated piece of recyclable material can contaminate an entire batch. Please make sure you rinse out all the materials you recycle and get them clean before they head off to a plant. Another benefit of cleaning out your old picket jar or black bean can is that it may inspire you to find another use for it around the house. A quick search on the internet will give you a ton of ideas on how you can use recyclable materials around your own home!
Turning recyclable materials into functional or aesthetic items in your home can be a fun way to get your whole family involved and teach the importance of recycling. If you have little tikes at home, set aside some time to create some new “toys” that they are guaranteed to enjoy! Here are some ideas:
1. Paint toilet paper and paper towel rolls in a variety of colours.
2. Cut a rectangle out of construction paper and fold in half. Draw a pattern on your roof—try zigzags or mini triangles.
3. Draw a door on construction paper, cut out and glue to roll. Cut roll so that the door opens. Use patterned paper for the windows.
4. Attach tape to the inside of the roll (sticky side out) and affix roof.
1: Rinse out an empty juice or milk jug. Paint over the jug’s label with the spray paint and allow it to dry. Paint the wooden dowel with the colourful outdoor paint and set aside to dry.
2: Use an exacto knife to cut out a shape 2 to 3 inches from the bottom of the jug. Paint a diagonal line across the jug with the outdoor paint, then fill in the bottom half and let dry. (Tip: If there are sharp edges, cover them with decorative tape.)
3: Cut a small X just under the triangle and push the wooden dowel a quarter of the way into the jug. Use a glue gun to attach 3 or 4 lines of hemp across the top of the painted area, and around the tip of the wooden dowel.
4: Cut a long piece of hemp. Wrap around the lid, glueing to secure, and leaving two long ends on either side. Fill the jug with birdseed to just under the triangle, then tie to a tree branch in your yard.
Check out these sites for even more ideas:
Even if you do not have children at home their are an endless amount of crafts geared towards adults. If you are looking for an affordable, earth-friendly way to decorate your living area here are some great options:
- Start with clean and dry glass/tin containers
- Decorate with containers with construction paper/scrapbooking paper
- Add potting soil into containers
- Plant succulents (one per jar)
- Start by cutting the plumbing insulation tube in half
- Tape the two ends together with duct tape. If you pinch and massage the tube, it will form into a circle.
- Cut your pages out of the book. I found that the fastest and cleanest way is to use a sharp knife. One by one, roll each page to make a cone shape and flatten the bottom part.
- Using a hot glue gun, glue the cones onto the foam wreath.
- After your first layer, turn the wreath over. You have just finished the back of the wreath.
- Now continue to add layers to your desired fullness
Check out these sites for even more adult-friendly ideas:
We hope this blog has inspired you in same way to get crafting, or at least start recycling. Reusing recyclable objects can be a great way to play your kids or add some flare to your has for next to nothing. It also keeps trash out of landfills and helps our environment stay cleaner. Even if you do not plan on doing DIY recycled art please consider being mindful of what you are throwing away. You will likely be surprised how much waste you are putting in the trash can that can actually go in the recycled bin!