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Four Stunning Works of Art Made from Recycled Trash

While the simple act of recycling itself must have been pretty geeky when Earth Day first started 40 years ago, nowadays it’s become so common place that we hardly think about it. So, if you want to earn some geek street cred while saving the earth, you’ve got to think bigger, better, and evidently, artier. To that end, we’re celebrating Earth Day by posting some of the coolest art made out of trash this side of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Read on to see them all.

1. First off, here is a sample from Paho Mann’s beautiful North Gateway Transfer Station Project. For over a year, Mann spent time photographing incoming recycling at a Phoenix plant, eventually capturing more than 6000 individual photographs of detritus. This piece, a collage of red objects, is particularly stunning.

2. This next piece, Dirty White Trash (With Gulls), is by Tim Nobel and Sue Webster. They pile up trash into seemingly meaningless heaps, but when light is shone upon them from the right angle, awesome shadows give off their true meanings. Having seen a few of these in person, I have to say they are even more stunning in real life.

3. In a somewhat similar vein of making persons out of trash is HA Schult’s Trash People. Schult’s work is not only innovative from the sheer scale of his projects, but due to his presenting them in front of landmarks across the globe.

4. But, it being Earth Day, perhaps the best pieces are those that give us pause about the state of our consumption. Nobody pulls that off quite like Chris Jordan, whose Running the Numbers collections make pictures out of thousands of pieces of trash, which go from beautiful to disturbing when viewed up close. Cell Phones shows 426,000 mobile phones – the amount thrown away in the US every day.

And here, a closeup:

These artists truly make good on the cliche of turning one man’s trash into another’s treasure. And beyond that, it’s an attractive way to end Earth Day 40.

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