Sustainable works of art made using recycled materials

Recycled Toy Sculptures

Art isn’t just an expression of an individual. Furthermore, it also serves as a means of educating the society. A great work of art successfully elicits the attention of the viewer. However, it is then the responsibility of the artists to utilize it in a positive way. They should make sure that the viewer takes a positive message from their art. Now more than ever we stand in need of such messages. Due to the high environmental impact of modern human civilization, the world stands in need of sustainability. In fact, it is actually only a few countries that are harming the planet. Therefore, keeping this in mind, artists from all around the world are again and again raising this message through sustainable art.

Sustainable art made using recycled materials

Recycling along with upcycling is one of the most important solutions for pollution. However, why do we not stop using such products at all in the first place? Millions of plastic bottles are used by the USA alone every hour. We should stop or reduce using paper or plastic since recycling them is an expensive task too. Here are some artists who made their artwork using recycled materials.

1. Aurora Robson

Aurora RobsonAurora has saved an approximate of 30,000 plastic bottles from entering the trash on either land or sea. They have not been put through expensive recycling systems either. She creates organic sculptures with the concept of space and sea life. These installations are 3D, apart from the collage she makes using the paper junk.

2. Julia Anne Goodman

Julia Anne GoodmanJulia is another artist who converts paper and mashes into a pulp. This pulp is used to make recycled paper. She began this work in 2003 to create her sculptures. One such artwork includes the “Certain is Nothing Now” which depicts a tornado hit area. She used paper waste to show the destruction caused by a dreadful natural disaster.

3. Miwa Koizumi

Miwa KoizumiHave you heard of an artificial aquarium made of trashed water bottles? Well, Miwa Koizumi developed the concept and used PET (polythene terephtlalate plastic) to make the sea creatures. This artwork is a message to the world about how the sea is getting polluted by the plastic waste, thus affecting the fish and other water creatures. This depiction is an important message to the world, to prohibit the pollution of natural forms, be it sea, forest or air.

4. Sumer Erek:

Sumer ErekHe has come up with a concept called as “Newspaper house.” It simply means the production of sustainable art using old and used newspapers. He tries to renew old paper and use the content and the images to get involved in the structure. Thus, he gave identity to the people or objects in news through Newspaper House.

5. Caroline Saul

Caroline SaulHer concept of Bulbous forms has been appreciated worldwide. She has transformed discarded objects into a work of art. She uses melted, reformed and tarnished plastic in her artworks. The transformation makes this material soft, thus giving it a flexible and easy to use characteristic.

6. Recycled grass sculpturesRecycled grass sculptures

Here at Greendiary, we keep informing you about unusually green sculptures that come together to create a different genus of sustainable art. The amazing grass sculptures, dubbed as ça pousse! (it’s growing!), created by French artist Mathilde Roussel-Giraudy fall under the same category for their use of soil, wheat seed and recycled metal.

Providing you with an insight into the artist’s rural upbringing in an old French farmhouse, the “anthropomorphic and organic” sculptures are mesmeric enough to make you overlook the rural connection. The New Yorkers could visit Brooklyn’s Invisible Dog Gallery to see her art in person. Else, follow the link that leads you to her site.

7. Sustainable Harley Davidson from recycled cardboard

Sustainable Harley Davidson from recycled cardboardArt student Kenny Scott nurtures a penchant for creating great things essentially out of waste. Unable to bear all the recycled cardboard going to waste Kenny thought of crafting something green and sustainable out if it and within six weeks he was done with it. He constructed a full-scale replica of Harley Davidson using throwaway cardboard, paper glue and a craft knife. Suffused with intricate details the model’s stunning looks resembling a genuine roaring Harley take you for a ride.

Encouraged by the success of his creation which won the best in show at the University of Central Lancashire end-of-year exhibition, Kenny now aspires to create a full-scale replica of a Spitfire, the World War II fighter plane. He is currently on the lookout for an airplane hangar to build one. Anyone willing to help!

8. Origami Folding Lamp


The exact origin of origami has been disputed though it is known that the art had become an integral part of Shinto wedding ceremonies by 700 AD. The art remains highly prized in Japan and is now being integrated into modern life in the guide of functional elements like this innovative set of Origami Lights. As its name suggests, the shade of the light fixture is made of recycled cotton paper that is folded into an intricate shape to give the lamp a delicate look.

The origami folding light fixture is designed by artist Jiangmei Wu who used his own interpretation of the ancient art to create the stunning lampshade. The organic material used for its construction means that it is far more sustainable than regular lamp shades. The designer actually sends the lamp shades packed flat which makes it convenient to transport and the buyer can assemble it home using the given instructions. This also allows the users to dismantle the shade when it gets dirty, clean it, fold it up again and make his lampshade stay new-looking for longer.

Entirely self-supportive when folded, the origami lamp uses LED lamps to make the light fixture even more environment-friendly. Even though the designer has not specified it, we do believe that using an incandescent or traditional light bulb with this lampshade will cause it to yellow up or even burn down as they emit far more heat than LED lamps.

9. Modern Fossils: Imaginative artModern Fossils Imaginative art

This art work is about fossilizing wasteful technology which once thrived in a society obsessed with consumerism. It clearly envisages an age in which our future civilizations forgo the use of bits of metal and plastic for a thoroughly sustainable lifestyle. Its’ an art work that would help them learn about outdated technology which best represents the disposability of today’s lifestyle. The concrete replicas by artist Christopher Locke have been created to reflect with intricate detail the electronic nature of the gadgets used in present times. Only time will tell whether our prospective generations get excited by these relics or actually scorn at their wasteful pedigree.

10. Humans and animals by Robert Bradford

Humans and animals by Robert BradfordUK based artist Robert Bradford has created several realistic sculptures of humans and animals using useless plastic items on wood. Bradford normally creates toys which are very colorful. He has also created some other items including combs, brushes, buttons, etc. using discarded plastic. Some of the sculptures designed by him contain over 3,000 toys and are priced at £12,000. Bradford says that the idea to create sculptures using discarded materials hit his mind in 2002 when he thought that he can use the discarded toys of his kids to come up with something productive. Bradford is a well-known face now and he exhibits his creations at different art galleries in London and Paris. He had also exhibited his beautiful artworks at the Fresh Air biennial sculpture exhibition in 2009. Bradford is pretty popular among the pet owners who contact him to get designed a toy version of their favorite pets.

11. Scrap Monitor Mammoth

Scrap Monitor MammothAnthony Haywood’s “Broken Family” is an elephant created using discarded TVs and other household waste. Haywood has made this unforgettable for an annual event in Sydney, Australia. The event named Sculptures by the Sea traverses Bondi to Tamarama coastline. The event saw participation from artists of more than 18 countries. Over 100 sculptures were showcased at the event billed as the largest annual outdoor public exhibition in Australia. Haywood, a British artist, has used about 80 televisions and computer screens to come up with this masterpiece. Haywood said that he got inspiration to create the elephant while watching a documentary on the senseless killing going around the world for the tusk of the elephants. Haywood added that he wanted to use this medium to aware the world about this dangerous practice. Haywood has shown through his sheer brilliance that even dumped materials can be used in a creative manner to pass sincere message. Kudos to you Mr. Haywood.

12. Wave of Recorded Waste

Wave of Recorded WasteKorean artist Jean Shin deserves credit for creating wave of recorded waste surreal surf sculpture. Created in 2007, the “Sound Wave” is made up of melted vinyl records. This realistic sculpture sends a message that the advancement of technology renders each successive generation useless. Shin’s sculpture is exhibited at The Museum of Art and Design. This sculpture is on exhibit at “Second Lives: Remixing the Ordinary.” Shin has used thousands of 78 rpm records and then melted them to form the beautiful sculpture on a wooden frame. The Sound Wave formed by Shin is dotted with bursts of colorful labels. Shin was born in 1971 in Seoul, South Korea. She lives and works in New York City. The Sound Wave was also exhibited in 2009 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington.

13. WEEE Man Sculpture of Recycled Monstrosity

WEEE Man Sculpture of Recycled MonstrosityBuilt by the British Royal Society of Arts, the WEEE Man is a seven meters tall sculpture. This sculpture weighing three metric tons stands at Cornwall’s Eden Project. Built of rejected electronic components and household appliances, the WEEE Man symbolizes that how much harm we are causing the environment by adding to the waste materials that are harmful for the environment. The WEEE Man was unveiled at the South Bank in London. The WEEE in WEEE man stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. The WEEE Man was unveiled in 2005 as part of a government’s drive to raise awareness among people to save the environment.

14. Recycled Rabbit from Cigarette

Recycled Rabbit from CigaretteThe creator of this tobacco laced rabbit, Tom Deininger has to spend days on the streets, beaches and parks to collect enough cigarette sticks to create this cute bunny. The cigarette filters have been removed and sculpted together to form the rabbit. Though it might be a great put off for non smokers to live with the smell of cigarette in the room, it sure gets 10 points for originality and creativity.

15. Recycled Bottle Cap Fish Mosaic

Recycled Bottle Cap Fish MosaicMade from Bud Light and Izze bottle caps, the fish is shaped out of roofing paper and the caps tastefully arranged to form the scales, the beak and the eye. With a bit of imagination and decorative ideas, anyone can come out with unique versions of such fish and what not. All you need are some cardboard paper and some bottle caps which I am sure are available at home in plenty.

16. Recycled Trash Robot

Recycled Trash RobotShaped by artist Brandon Jan Blommaert, it is a Godzilla inspired creation as confessed by the artist himself. The trash was collected from varying sources by the artist. The trash robot is placed in fantasy backdrops created in Photoshop. The entire creation was created for a recycling centre based in Alberta.

17. Painting from Recycled Red Plastic Litter

Painting from Recycled Red Plastic LitterA great and stunning example of environmental art, the litter painting was created by artist John Dahlsen with the help of over 80 jumbo bags filled with thrash from the vicinity of beaches in Australia. The red pieces were all put together artistically to create this piece of art that reminds us of the damage that we are creating in the world.

18. Mutha the Mendip Monster

Mutha the Mendip MonsterThis gigantic monster that towers over the artist himself is an exceptional piece of art that is created from recycled materials like tyres, plywood and other bric-a-bracs that you find in your backyard, ready to be thrown. Created by British artist Chris Pilmore, this impressive Tyrannosaurus sculpture looks so realistic that it can easily outshine the scores of science fiction movies that we have watched with bated breath.

The artist has taken pains to shape 20 used tyres in desired sizes and shapes to create this ultimate effect. It also comes with a message to the world that we must find creative ways by which we can transform our trash to beautiful objects of art without wasting them.

19. Recycled Geeky Art Sculptures

Recycled Geeky Art SculpturesThese beautiful pieces of art created by artist Ann Smith uses recycled pieces form old electronic items and gadgets that inspire the techno crowd to be inspired and shape out their own dream projects from recycled materials.

20. Recycled Toy Sculptures

Recycled Toy SculpturesRobert Bradford, a British artist created a series of toy sculptures using soft toys and other recycled materials that he collected from various sources. The vibrant sculptures look pretty impressive and colourful that they can go as a centre piece in a kid’s room or a school.

21. Framed Recycled Bike Art

Framed Recycled Bike ArtRecycled Bike Art is owned by Angela Armstrong. She creates framed pieces from parts recycled from bikes. The picture shows a disc break that is framed amidst vibrant colours and the word peace written in Chinese at the centre of the recycled art.

22. Rodrigo’s Recycled Art

Rodrigo’s Recycled Art

The magnificent pieces of artwork created by Rodney McCoubrey are created from junk and trash that he collects from the dumpsters, parking lots and sidewalks of California. They look very colourful and beautiful that you at once want to own one of them.

23. Recycled Flip Flop Elephant Sculpture

Recycled Flip Flop Elephant SculptureAs most of you might already know, beaches have become one of the hot spots for unrecyclable trash. Created by UniquEcothis products helps to reduce the waste materials accumulated in the beaches and also to create work for teenagers and Kenyan women. They are created from flip flops collected from the beaches.


Recycling plastic,paper, metal or any other for of trash can give some amazing sustainable art forms. A few easy steps and you can convert the plastic you were just about to throw in the trash bin into something valuable.

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