8 Unbelievable Art Pieces Made Out of Trash

When I was a kid, I remember going to the dump and getting excited by what treasure I might find; at the same time I felt saddened and confused by the amount of trash that was being thrown away.

I feel the same way today.

The problem of waste is vast: Each American produces about 4.3 pounds of waste every day. That adds up to about 250 million tons of trash every year. 250 million tons!

But it’s not all bad news: In 2010, recycling and composting diverted 85 million tons of that material away from landfills. Upcycling, which entails taking an old item and giving it a new use, can also prevent more waste from ending up in the landfill.

I’m on a mission to show inspiring examples of upcycling. I want to help people look at trash differently.

Over the last three years, I have put together the work of 82 designers and artists from 20 countries around the world, to show the beautiful and innovative things that can be made out of garbage.

Below are some of these upcycled and recycled pieces of art. After feeling energized by these artists, I wanted to produce a book called Retrash to pass on that inspiration. You can read more about that effort here.

This lamp was created by French artist Gilles Eichenbaum, by transforming an old kettle into a piece of art.


These benches are made from broken skateboards. They are created by American upcycler Jason Podlaski.


Australian designer Liz Jones makes hand-crafted jewelry and clocks from reclaimed and recycled linoleum.


This gorgeous scarf is made from old jumpers -- or sweaters -- and is the work of Australian designer Morgan Wills.


This birdhouse is the work of Brian Carlisle, an American designer/upcycler who works with anything from busted up furniture to antique sewing machines.




Tanith Rohe is a San Francisco Bay area artist who uses guitar strings, broken electronics, hardware, broken clocks and watches, old maps and books.


I upcycled this old window into a garden bed.


The designers and artists featured in my book each have their own unique vision and style, and they are helping to redesign the nature of recycling.

I believe Retrash, which is printed on 100% recycled paper, can inspire a small step for change and I am passionate about getting it into the world. If you would like to see a sneak peak into the project, you can see my video here.




Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Magdalena J.
Past Member 2 years ago

Thank you!

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe2 years ago

We have lots of old stuff at our house. Now, I just need to come up with some new ideas for them!

Heidi Wood
Heidi Wood2 years ago

That are some good ideas they had. In my family we starting to do stuff like this.

tanzy t.
tanzy t2 years ago

Really beautiful stuff.

william Miller
william M2 years ago

awesome ideas I think I should make one of them chairs for the library I bet it is even comfortable.

slava rabikovich
Slava R2 years ago

The bird house - what a truly captivating design. Thank you for the wonderful upload.

Mark H.
Mark H2 years ago

Wow! TY! How "refreshing"!

Jan H.
J. H2 years ago

Wonderful! I love using old treasures or turning old trash into treasures.