While checking out the East Austin Studio Tour, I happened to stumble across a photo exhibit of DIY projects featuring recycled items. One snapshot showed a tire placed in the ground and used as a planter. Another depicted soup cans shellacked with royal blue paint, affixed to an exterior wall with viney green plants sprouting out.
All of these photos showed that someone had used their imagination in repurposing everyday items. I had discovered the Austin Creative Reuse exhibit, and I was about to learn about this interesting local organization that puts an artistic spin on reduce, reuse and recycle.
Austin Creative Reuse is a “nonprofit organization with a mission to foster conservation and reuse through creativity, education and community building.” They collect items like carpet samples, cabinet wood samples, jewelry, foam, glass bottles, tires, yarn and trinkets and make them available to the public through classrooms, workshops, events—and, soon, a retail store.
The goals of the project are twofold: first, remember when you were a kid and every scrap was a potential treasure? The eclectic materials distributed by Austin Creative Reuse help remind artists that everything can be made beautiful. The organization also hopes to teach people to think more creatively about their waste, and be aware of the imprint they're leaving behind.
The non-profit was inspired by a similar non-profit in North Carolina called The Scrap Exchange. A creative reuse facility seemed like the perfect fit for Austin and, in 2009, founders of The Scrap Exchange and a team of local re-fab junkies made Austin Creative Reuse a reality. The gang definitely practices what they preach—their business cards are even printed on cracker boxes!
Considering Austin Creative Reuse is a young organization, they’re still looking for help! If you’d like to join in fundraising initiatives or become a part of the team, check out their How You Can Help page and get your recyclin’ on.