Trash to Treasure

Students will learn about upcycling common items found around their home.
Grades: K-7
Seasons: All
Time: 30+ minutes
Supplies: Recycling or clean waste; glue and/or string and/or tape (usually).
Lesson Plan PDF


Instead of downcycling, why not upcycle? The sky’s the limit in terms of how you can create treasure from trash. From used ski furniture to old CD suncatchers, cardboard sculptures to tin can bird feeders, there are so many ways to create art and/or useful objects from what other people might mistakenly call waste.


Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with a treasure… to create something useful and/or beautiful out of something that would usually be thrown away (either in the recycling or waste stream). You may want to go online and search for ‘trash to treasure’ or ‘upcycling’ for more ideas. 

Extension Activities:

Here are some of our favourite stories of ingenuity and creativity when it comes to turning trash to treasure:

• Watch an inspiring, short video on Paraguay’s Recycled Orchestra: Landfill Harmonic Orchestra• Izhar Gafni, an Israeli national, fulfilled his dream of making a cardboard bike that’s strong enough to be rideable.

• Another video focused on music, this time showing ‘behind the scenes’ making both the set to a music video and the cigar box guitars they play in that video: The Making of Little Boxes – Walk off the Earth.


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