By Breeana Greenberg
Leading up to America Recycles Day on Nov. 14, the nonprofit Stand Up to Trash is encouraging beach, park and neighborhood cleanup participants to repurpose the items they find by turning them into art for a contest.
The recycled art contest aims to raise awareness for recycling, with participants creating artwork with the repurposed trash collected from beach cleanups. Through this competition, Stand Up to Trash Founder and President Vicki Patterson said she hopes people will look at the trash that they generate in a new light.
“The idea of the whole thing is to just keep your items out of the landfill, because we’re trying to teach, you know, there is no ‘away,’ ” Patterson said. “People think like, ‘OK, once the trash truck comes, my trash is away.’ But it goes somewhere.”
“I really want people to start thinking about, like, it’s easy just to throw it away, but someone else can use it,” Patterson continued. “We’re hoping to just spark a little creativity and hope to see that build and grow.”
This is the second year that the nonprofit, which held its inaugural beach cleanup in November 2020, has hosted a recycled art contest.
Stand Up to Trash has recently introduced the “nine Rs:” refuse, repurpose, reuse, reduce, repair, rot, rethink, redesign and recycle, with landfill being the last option. The art competition focuses on repurposing, Patterson said.
“Repurpose is a way of teaching about sustainability and a form of recycling that is focused on finding new uses for items that are already present in the home, rather than discarding them,” Patterson said.
Patterson added that being sustainable isn’t about buying new low-waste options; it’s about using what you already have.
“We never want to have blame or fear or guilt,” Patterson said. “It’s more just like we’re all learning about this; let’s do it in a fun and creative and family, community way.”
Participants will have the chance to win prizes. Those interested in participating can bring their art to the next Stand Up to Trash cleanup on Nov. 13, post a photo on social media and tag StandUptoTrash, or email a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The upcoming Stand Up to Trash Beach Cleanup and Lunch & Learn will take place at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point from 9-11 a.m.
More information on how to participate in the recycled art contest or future beach cleanups can be found at standuptotrash.com.
Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at email@example.com