Almost everyone has an artsy side. Whether you knit, paint, build, decorate or mow the lawn in a neat pattern, most adults will admit that art isn’t only for kids.

Art also plays an important role in a successful business. From advertising campaigns to office artwork to outdoor sculptures. A survey of 800 employees out of the Business Committee for the Arts found that “art in the workplace helps businesses address key challenges such as reducing stress (78% agree), increasing creativity (64% agreed), and encouraging expression of opinions (77% agreed).” So it’s clear; art is for everyone.

Many creative projects lack real-world application, however. After hanging on the fridge for weeks, most of our kids’ beautiful artwork quickly becomes difficult to dispose of garbage. It can be hard to see how creating more art could reduce pollution, advocate for environmental protection, and be useful simultaneously.

Upcycling provides a unique solution to many of these difficulties. In short, upcycling describes the creative reuse of trash to make something of value. All art created out of garbage is considered a form of upcycling.

Upcycled Art for Kids

One of the best projects to do with kids starts with a litter clean-up. Once you’ve collected a couple of bags of trash, go home and sort it into separate colors or materials. Now you have your palette to create images, rainbows, and sculptures.

Another fun project includes collecting everyday trash items from around the house, like toilet paper rolls, old bike tires, chocolate bar wrappers, etc., and seeing what you can come up with.

Although the art your kids create out of trash might eventually still be thrown away. Projects like this are the perfect way to have conversations about littering and teach children about recycling and repurposing items that would otherwise rot in landfills.

Upcycled Art for Adults

Old tires are one of many enjoyable upcycling art projects. Too many end-of-life tires end up discarded on the side of the road, where they leach toxins into waterways and provide homes for mosquitoes and rodents. Although accessing tire cutters can be difficult, upcycling tires makes a great weekend project and provides valuable items for your yard.

These are some possible tire upcycling creations you could make:

  • Planting Pots – Paint the tires to add color to your garden.
  • Playground – Tires cut in half and arranged in various positions make an excellent playground.
  • Landscaping Art – Painted tires give a yard character.
  • Camouflaged Compost Bin – Although not a standard canvas for artwork, a stack of old tires makes a perfect compost bin and doesn’t look trashy after a paint job.

Upcycling old and out-of-style clothing is another great way to unleash your creative genius. Lots of people have old, outdated ties lying around. Could you sew them together to make a fun pillow cover? What about making socks that no longer have a pair into a puppet? With what’s available on YouTube, you can learn to do all these things without prior experience.

Upcycled Art for Businesses

Businesses can create large, impressive upcycled art. With the ability to collaborate and contract out parts of a project, some companies have invested in large displays made from trash. For example, a conservation-focused organization in New Zealand recently created a larger-than-life albatross out of single-use plastic bottles. It has a wingspan of over 30ft! The albatross was then used in ads and posters to advocate for banning single-use plastics.

Every sector of the economy creates waste. This means that no matter the work area, there is always an opportunity to upcycle waste and display an environmentally conscious attitude. If you run a tire shredder business, why not create a tire elephant or archway out in front of your tire recycling plant? This installment is a sure way to attract visitors and contribute to your brand.

Other benefits of investing in an upcycled art project for your businesses include:

  • Make a Statement – You can use this creative form of recycling to bring attention to an important issue or cause your business is involved with. Art catches people’s attention, and upcycled art inspires people too.
  • Save Ecosystems – It’s easy to forget once a project is complete, but upcycling keeps waste out of landfills and the ocean.
  • Add Life to Your Workplace – Art makes everything around it come alive.
  • Spark Creativity – Upcycling carves out space for creativity and unconventional ideas to blossom, a key aspect for many entrepreneurs and businesses.

Is upcycling cool?

We think so. People are never going to be turned off by you creating something beautiful, fun, modern, or thought-provoking out of garbage. The act of upcycling is a form of art in itself. It’s educational for kids, valuable as an adult, and especially beneficial as a business in the corporate world.

What upcycling project you plan to undertake will be unique to your situation, whether it’s recycling old tires, plastic bottles, or clothes. Whatever it is, don’t wait around until upcycling art becomes commonplace. This is your chance to be a trendsetter.