Transforming Trash- Behold the Beauty of Upcycled Art

Turning trash into treasure, or recyclables into art, has the power to transform the way we think about the things we so frequently discard. So many items that might see a second life through recycling are often sent to landfills. In working with Keep California Beautiful and the K-12 Recycling Challenge, we saw the power of education and promoting recycling to keep waste out of landfills. This was our inspiration for the First Annual Recycled Materials Art Competition in Marin County. We issued a challenge to Marin County Teachers: Talk to your students about creating art from disposable objects, which might otherwise be thrown away. 

The results were astounding.

Art poured into our inboxes: sculptures, collages, mosaic patterns, masks, all crafted from items one might find in a landfill. All of the pieces we received were beautiful, unique, and clearly the result of hard work. Our judges had a hard time determining the winners, and in one case we had a split. 

Without further ado, we present the winners of the First Annual Recycled Materials Art Competition! Congratulations to all students who participated- we loved seeing your creativity in action.

Teacher: Sarah Vattuone

School: Reed Elementary

Grade: Kindergarten

Materials Used: Toilet paper rolls, drink containers, tin cans, lids

Teacher: Barbara Libby-Steinmann

School: Bacich Elementary

Grade: 1st

Materials Used: Cardboard, bottle caps, buttons, straws, plastic forks, ribbons

Teacher: Karen Wilcox

School: Coleman Elementary

Grade: 2nd

Materials Used: Tin box, springs, tin can, lid, buttons, foam


Teacher: Francesca Previtali

School: Saint Raphael

Grade: 3rd

Materials Used: Egg cartons, cardboard box, aluminum foil, lids

Teacher: Kerry Mason

School: The Cove Elementary

Grade: 3rd

Materials Used: Milk Cartons, cardboard


Teacher: Barbara Libby-Steinmann

School: Bacich Elementary

Grade: 4th

Materials Used: Old books

Teacher: Sarah Jensen

School: Saint Raphael School

Grade: 5th

Materials Used: Cardboard, paper, yarn