From trash to treasure


How often do you observe the things your family and your local community throw out in the trash? What sort of things can you find? Paper, plastic, food, old furniture, magazines, newspapers, clothes, branches and leaves from the garden? Make a list.

When you have some time, see what you can make from these things in the trash, e.g. sculptures from wood, metal or plastic, hanging mobiles from odds and ends, a recycled paper notebook, a skirt or jacket, compost from food scraps, a patchwork quilt from old pieces of clothing. What else can you think of?

Here is a fun and useful activity:

Collect materials for a ‘trash to treasure’ project, and also include glue, scissors, sewing equipment, etc. Make sure you wash anything dirty before handling it.

Create artwork or practical items with your recyclable materials.

If you do this with a group of friends, you could display your recycled creations for others to see. Use this opportunity to build awareness in your local community about waste management.

And think about this:

To eliminate the concept of waste means to design things
– products, packaging and systems –
from the very beginning
on the understanding that waste does not exist.

—William McDonough

Can you design something really innovative that will reduce waste in your local community? You won’t know until you try!

Please share your ideas with us at

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