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Look What I Made From Trash

Updated on June 18, 2013

Recycle Day For Me Is Like A Free Day In A Craft Supply Store

While I walking my dog I noticed my neighbor put out a large pile of trash. Normally I don't pick though my neighbors garbage, but I felt a little bad seeing all those items that were going to the dump especially since I live in a climate that doesn't break down anything easily.

There seemed to be some things in there that needed to come out so I looked around, didn't see anyone and took home an old fishtank full of gravel, plastic plants and algae covered drift wood. In addition to that I took some old astro-turf, a broken cake topper, cinder blocks, glass jars, old spray paint cans that felt as if they still had some paint left, a bag of mismatched marbles, 1 plastic empty milk container, 1 slightly cracked blue glass vase, a broken wooden crate that once had wine in it, and a bunch of tins from cat food.

Photo Credit : All Photos are property of unless otherwise cited.

Broken Cake Topper Inspired My Newest Fairy Garden

My husband was horrified when I told him I was hauling my neighbors garbage back to our house. I couldn't make him understand that someone else's trash was my treasure. It wasn't until I told him that I would not make my weekly trip to Hobby Lobby if I could store the trash in our garage. He gave in as he always does.

After getting my loot back to my house I got out the hose and some soap and went to town on everything especially the disgusting fish tank. I bleached the stones and the plants. Once they were clean they looked new. The tank still held water, but at this time I don't want fish. I will reserve that treasure for another day.

The broken cake topper was what caught my eye. It was in really bad shape and I almost returned it to the trash, but then I started looking at an empty garden planter and decided I would attempt to resurrect this stuff into a Fairy Garden. I have been looking at them on Pinterest and felt I was finally up to the challenge.

Off of an old toy pool table I pulled enough astro turf to cover the bottom. I used the stones from the fish tank as the garden rock. I pulled some flat stones off of an old tile. I then cut the milk jug in half and used the bottom to form the pond.

I continued to break up the cracked blue glass vase I found into pieces that were large enough to cover the bottom of the pond and make it appear blue.

Fairy Garden Made Entirely Of Recycled Items Found In the Trash

Organize It All Stainless-Steel Step-On 12-Gallon Recycle Bin

When we first started recycling it was very difficult because we were not used to separating the trash. It became more of a chore than being Green responsible. Once we bought a 3 can system it became very easy to keep things separated. We tend to recycle more now that keeping things sorted is so easy.

Organize It All 3 Compartment Step-On 45 Liter Recycling Trash Can, Stainless Steel
Organize It All 3 Compartment Step-On 45 Liter Recycling Trash Can, Stainless Steel

Paper, Metal and Plastic

Side-by-side 3 compartment recycleing bin; 12-gallon capacity each.

Made from stainless steel with plastic liners.

Includes foot pedals, bucket handles, and independent lids

Measures 24 by 13-1/2 by 19 inches


23 Things That You Should Never Put In The Trash - Keep Those Paper Towel Holders

1. Wrap posters in paper towel cardboard to keep them protected during a move or for storage.

2. Place a toilet paper cardboard around a roll of wrapping paper to keep it from opening up and getting ripped.

3. Cover with tissue paper and hide toys inside for a great children's party favor.

4. Place dryer lint in a toilet paper cardboard as a great fire started for a BBQ or camp fire

5. Don't throw away old boxes especially if they are large. Find a child and give it to them. They will turn it into a space ship or a airplane. It will keep them busy for hours.

6. Paint cat food cans and use as a votive holder. You can add ribbon and make them look really pretty.

7. An empty milk container makes a great waterer for house plants

8. Jars can be refilled with almost anything and then redecorated as a gift.

9. Old greeting cards are perfect for scrap booking materials

10. Shipping Styrofoam. Offer it on any classified and you will get dozens of offers.

11. Shower Curtain make great paint covers, children's paint smocks and BBQ covers for the winter

12. Old Tires can be ground up to make playground safety mulch, make great planters

13. Egg Cartoons make great seed starters

14. Aluminum Cans can be recycled for money

15. Egg shells and coffee grounds. I throw them directly into the garden. It's a great soil enhancer.

16. Plastic shopping bags. You should be using reusable bags. They are inexpensive.

17. Cork tops from wine bottles make fantastic pin cushions.

18. Wooden Pallets Can be recycled into furniture, book shelves, garden fencing or porch swings

19. Wine bottles. Once the wine is gone you can stick a candle in the top and use it as a candle holder, You can use them as a vase. You can insulate your attic with them too. Cut your heating and air conditioning bill and store your clean bottles against the walls of your attic.

20. Plastic water bottles can be refilled with fresh filtered water. Better to stop buying plastic water bottles all together and change over to refillable insulated aluminum ones. They hold the cold in better and saves the land fills.

21. Vegetable and Fruit Peels. Most of the time all the vitamins are in the peels. I never peel potatoes. The peel is the best part. Lemon and orange peels can be candied and eaten, Cook with the zest. If you need to throw them away use a compost bin and get rich soil out of the deal.

22. Car batteries, paint, old car oil needs to be properly handled and brought to a recycler that handles those items. Usually car places will accept them for a small fee.

23, Copper wire. Copper wire is very desirable for crafts and to melt down. You will be paid to recycle it.

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew

1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)
1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew (1000 Series)

Everything out there has a second purpose and all you need is a drop of creativity to find that use. We can no longer continue to fill up landfills and must think of new ways of using old items.


Do You Recycle?

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Good Ideas EZCJR-BLK 7-Cubic-Foot Compost Wizard Jr.

I started composting when I lived in NY. I didn't like pesticides so spiders and keeping soil in good condition really helped keep a balance in my yard. Each year I would mulch my entire property and that would break down into very rich soil by fall. Here in the desert wood does not break down so in order to get rich soil you have to use a compost system. This is one that is similar to the one I use.

Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter, Black

Worm composting is a lot of fun and creates rich black soil that anything can grow in. I used to worm compost for many years. I always had soil I was able to use anywhere. At first I thought the worms were going to be disgusting but they don't smell and they really aren't gross. What they gave me was like gold for the ground. Anything I grew in that soil thrived and I felt as if I was was doing my part recycling.

Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter, Black
Worm Factory 360 WF360B Worm Composter, Black

Composting using worms is very easy. You add your vegetable scraps and peels to the composter. You then turn it slightly and keep it moist. The worms do the rest and very quickly. I used red wigglers. They reproduce very easily and with no effort so you can even release them into your yard so that your soil stays healthy.

If you like to fish you will always have bait on hand.


Cats Pee On Plastic Bags - Say NO to bags

This is Oreo. He is a very loving and friendly fellow. He has two problems. One, he has a shoe fetish. Never leave your shoes where he can get them. You don't want to know what he does to them. The second thing he does is pee on any plastic bag that comes into the house and here is why.

The plastic bags that you get from stores contain urea. Cats pick up the smell and think you just brought another cat into the house. If you have a cat that fancies himself as the top dog he is going to view this as a threat. Instantly he will want to mark his territory and your plastic grocery bag will be his target. So to keep my cat from going insane we never bring those thin plastic bags into the house.

I have a large collection of reusable bags and I have never paid for them. Often grocery stores will give them away as promotions. My grocery store does it every so often in the hopes less people will use plastic. You should see the smiles when we hand the check out girl our bags.

Another habit I have gotten into is not accepting bags at all. If I just buy one or two items why do I need a bag? One store near me actually asks if you need one and doesn't automatically put your item into one. I love that. I have never taken a bag from there yet. I have even gone into Walmart and refused a bag. As long as you carry your receipt with you out of the store and in full site there is never a problem. Say NO to plastic.

Teach Children Early So Recycling Becomes A Way Of Life

Books are one of the best ways of teaching children almost anything so books about recycling brings it to a level they can understand. Here is a great selection of books that will teach young children that they must care about the Earth now to ensure a good tomorrow.

Someone Threw This Into The Trash - I see a Cinderella Coach

My neighbor was moving and put this by their curb for the garbage men to come pick it up. It was originally black and had most of it's paint peeling off. I instantly saw a Cinderella Coach. One of the wheels was coming loose, but that was an easy fix with some jewelry glue. I painted it Disney Pink. I need to put another coat on it, but ran out of the paint. The paint happened to be in their trash also.

I am going to add some bling to the wheels with large rhinestones and some cute Disney color ribbon to the handle. My Daughter's God Daughter is going to be so excited as she is a Princess Obsessed 3 year old little girl. She can put all her Disney books on it.

It was destine for the land fill and now it's going to make a little girl very happy for years to come.

Cat Food Can To Candle

My cat eats two cans of food a day and because of a kidney problem can't eat dry food. We have a lot of cans and it's a shame having them end up in a landfill so I started making candles out of them. I use my scraps of sculpy clay and acrylic paint. It's very easy to use a press mold. They make wonderful gifts.

Recycling Books

Here are some of my favorite books on recycling.

Eco Craft: Recycle Recraft Restyle

Save the Earth though art and repurposing items into modern every day items. This book is full of great ideas how you can craft your way to being environmentally responsible.

Eco Craft: Recycle Recraft Restyle
Eco Craft: Recycle Recraft Restyle

What can you do with those old wine bottles and jars you have been collecting up. Get great ideas from Eco Craft and recraft in style.


Ice Fruit Pitcher

Millions of water bottles end up in landfills each year and for no other reason than large manufacturers make these bottles available. There is no reason these bottles can't be washed out and reused.

Prodyne Iced Fruit Infusion Pitcher
Prodyne Iced Fruit Infusion Pitcher

I have this pitcher and it makes fantastic fruit infused water. It saves us money and is a healthy alternative to plain bottled water. We use filtered tap water instead and fruit from our own lemon trees.

At harvest time we get way more fruit than we can use. Normally we will squeeze the juice and free it into cubes. This way we can use the juice for months after the fruit would have gone bad. The lemon juice cubes fit nicely in the chamber and the water that comes from the pitcher is used also used for tea.


Store Heirloom Seeds In Medicine Bottles

Keeping seeds clean, dry and fresh is very important. What better way to do it, but in medication bottles.

Once your medication is finished don't throw away the plastic bottles. I peel off the labels and using Mod Podge I adhere a photo of the flower to the bottle. This lets me remember what the exact flower was that came from the seed. I then put a spray seal on it to make the bottle shiny.

I would love to hear your comments about this lens

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    • TerriCarr profile image


      4 years ago

      Your capacity to turn trash into treasure is truly impressive. And yes, I recycle whenever possible. The composting devices being invented these days are quite cool. Perhaps you have heard about composting toilets?!! I don't have one....but it sounds like a world-changing idea.

    • Lynda Makara profile image

      Lynda Makara 

      4 years ago from California

      Amazing! What an imagination you have!

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 

      4 years ago from Kentucky

      This was a very good lens, I bet you'll get a purple star for it! What amazing, creative, and useful ideas! Thank you for sharing, loved it!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 

      4 years ago

      I love finding treasures in the trash that I can craft into new things. Your fairy garden is amazing! I enjoyed getting to meet a fellow recycler and crafter!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I'll have to admit that I'm lazy when it comes to recycling although I do try most days. This was amazing and I was able to learn a few neat tricks here, thanks for sharing.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have to admit I throw lots of things now. I used to recycle everything but now I have given in to laziness.

    • TheWritingnag profile image

      Writing Nag 

      5 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      super ideas! I've found some cool vintage ephemera in my neighbor's FREE pile. Creative and fun lens!

    • opatoday profile image


      5 years ago

      Love your Stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I just rescued 3 Little Tykes outdoor playsets from the nieghborhood trash. We are cleaning them up and donating them to a local daycare center.

    • tophatpro profile image


      5 years ago

      Love that you had the courage to go through your neighbors trash to make something so pretty. You put a lot of us to shame showing us what's possible with just a little imagination.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm thinking there is not a thing going in your garbage that doesn't get a chance at a wonderful new life first, how creative! I didn't know the story about the urea, made sense to me....on the funny side for sure! :)

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 

      5 years ago from Connecticut

      I admire your creativity and applaud your passion for re-purposing and recycling so many useful items. I like to reuse as many different items as possible, and many of my finds found new life in my garden.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I just love this, I had to laugh because I do the same thing if I see anyone throwing out salvageable items. I've even grabbed broken stuff fixed up, used it for a while and then put it at the end of the driveway for someone else to grab. I love it when someone asks me "are you giving this away for free?" They are so surprised but they don't realize that it is just fixed up trash! I love your greeting card tip, I never thought of saving them for scrapbooking, what a great idea!

    • Craftypicks profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Green 

      5 years ago from Las Vegas

      @paperfacets: I recycle my neighbors trash. It's such a waste. I live in the desert so nothing breaks down easily. You can't even expect paper to break down. The good thing is they are very strict on dumping and we don't get much of it. Our streets are very clean.

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I heard on the news the other night that Los Angeles County only recycles 15% of its clothing. This practice is just wrong and such a waste. Our family has never put clothing in the trash, even as a little girl. There is so many ways to recycle cloth. People are lazy at being responsible consumers. I like your story here and happy recycling.

    • hovirag profile image


      5 years ago

      I just love your creativity! all of the "trash" turned out to be fantastic pieces of art :)

    • profile image

      sybil watson 

      5 years ago

      I love your cat food can idea - you've made me want to rethink what I throw in the trash. Beautiful lens.

    • Tonto Murray profile image

      Tonto Murray 

      5 years ago

      wow very impressive crafts from trash. Great lens. Blessed

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens and lovely ideas.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great lens and lovely ideas.

    • takkhisa profile image


      5 years ago

      I do recycle things as much as I can. Thanks for showing your great recycling ideas :)

    • katiecolette profile image


      5 years ago

      Love your "trash to treasure" recycling ideas. And I will look into getting one of the 12 gallon organize it bins - we certainly could use a more effective system for sorting and organizing paper, cans, plastic, and glass.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      That's awesome that you were able to creatively recycle all of those things. We are trying to improve upon our recycling this summer. We've mostly been focused on trying to learn to effectively compost.


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