50+ Recycled Crafts from Your Trash Can and Recycling Bin

50+ Recycled Crafts from Your Trash Can and Recycling Bin

Our recycling bins and trash cans are full of potential when it comes to recycled crafts. When I wrote this in 2020, most of us were stuck at home and in need of activities to keep us occupied. So, I put together this fun collection of craft ideas from waste materials; some of them come from the recyclables, and others from stuff we’d throw away.

I’ve tried to include a variety of projects with wide appeal: ideas for kids, ideas for adults, crafts that are functional, and crafts that are simply artistic. But they are all very simple and either use waste materials (food containers, toilet tissue tubes, etc.).

Or, they use common household items (wine corks, egg cartons, cardboard boxes, etc.). Such as paper mailers from Amazon, like I used for these:

wildflower seed bombs for Earth Day

Or how about a plastic coffee canister (like the red Folgers kind) that you might toss in the recycling bin? Look how pretty it can become with a little upcycling magic!

turning a coffee can into a boho planter

 And this cat cave that I made for Cottonball using a moving box and an old T-shirt.

Repurposing tshirts into a DIY cat cave or pet tent

Waste material projects like these are a great way to pass the time at home that doesn’t involve zoning out in front of the TV. And if the weather is mild, you could do them on your front porch or back patio, too. 

There are literally thousands of crafts with waste materials and recycling activities that you can do during this strange time in our history. I truly believe that setting aside time to be creative is important for our collective mental health right now.

Even if your creativity comes from the junk drawer, like my fairy garden did.

Fairy garden furniture from the junk drawer

Focusing on an art project or craft idea with your kids is therapeutic and allows you to escape the 24/7 news cycle for just a little while.

And let’s not forget, Earth Month is here! So these waste material projects and recycling activities are perfect for celebrating Earth Day, too!

Such as reusing food cans after cooking!

upcycling a metal utensil holder into art supply storage

I hope you find some inspiration from these easy recycling projects! I definitely plan on creating some of my own in the coming weeks, as well.

Recycled Crafts from Waste Materials

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Recycled Crafts from Waste Materials

Did you see any waste crafts that caught your eye? I suspect my recycling bins will be less full as the days go by and the need for craft materials grows! 

May my wine glass stay full, but my corks stay out of the trash, with a recycling project like this!

Wine cork trivet

You may also be asking, “But what about other craft supplies, like paints and glues?”. I’m lucky in that I have a tremendous collection, but I know not everyone has that luxury.

So, I’ve tried to include craft projects that use household trash, like these recycled fire starters, that don’t require any craft supplies!

DIY fire starter or homemade firelighters with dryer lint

But you can still order online through Amazon and similar sites. To keep costs down, however, I highly recommend coordinating with your neighbors to do non-contact porch swaps.

recycled cans from crafting with flannel book

Either way, maybe you’ll be able to look at your recycling bin through a crafter’s lens…and see a potential project instead, like these wine bottles as sea glass decor.

Sea glass bottles as wine bottle crafts for coastal decor

But limit it to bottles, jars, and other non-porous packages that can be sprayed with Lysol or wiped down with a sanitizing wipe.

For even more recycling bin craft ideas, make sure you check out this post before you go!

Craft on!


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craft projects that use waste materials from the trash and recycling bin

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.


  1. These are all great ideas! I’m going to use the toilet paper tube projects for my online class! Thanks for all the inspiration!

  2. So many great ideas Sarah!

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Definitely not the kind of round up I ever EXPECTED to do, but we live in a very different world right now! Thanks, T!!

  3. Hi! Hoping you will give us a weight loss update again soon! Hope all is well 🙂

    • Sadie Seasongoods says

      Ohhhh, I am so overdue for one! I actually planned on posting one on March 22, since that would be a year anniversary since joining a gym. But all the COVID stuff has messed up my schedule. I can give you a quick-and-dirty, update. I’ve been at a plateau for MONTHS…wavering between 25 and 30 pounds lost. So, I completely re-vamped my routine with more intense strength-training….and then all the gyms closed. LOL. BUT I should write a new post, anyway, and talk about that and what I’m doing at home. Thank you for the encouragement!!! XOXO

  4. So many great ideas, thanks for sharing. Pinned

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