Trash Sculpture

Trash Sculpture

Trash becomes treasure through art! This concept can be done as a contest similar to a science fair where students work independently on a project at home or as a classroom activity.


  • Decide what the contest rules will be, based on the age and experience of your students.  Some considerations:
    • Defining materials to be used.  Will you only use recyclables or challenge students to use items from the trash that can’t be recycled? Will extra credit be given for using multiple types of plastic?
    • Stress all materials should be clean and non-toxic.  Use of glass is not recommended due to safety issues.
    • Does the sculpture have to be 100% trash or will you allow some new materials to be used?
    • What are the size limits?


  • Set up judging criteria based on your rules.
  • Judges can be a panel of fellow teachers or peer judges.
  • Contact local business to donate prizes.


Classroom Activity

Have each student bring a bag of “clean” trash or recyclable items to school or the teacher can save and collect items for the event.  Students might work as a class or in teams to design a sculpture.

Trash Art Websites

    This site features a “Trash Matcher” which lists various waste materials and ways to use them for art and recycling activities.
    “Garbage … the result of a lack of imagination.”