COLUMBIA—Wallpaper samples can become a little girl’s purse, and last year’s calendars can become colorful new envelopes under a city plan to turn recyclables into art.
The Public Works Department is asking the public to contribute certain items for a Recyclebration to be held at Columbia’s Festival of the Arts on Sept. 29-30. The event is for families and children to use these unwanted materials to create art.
- Beads, lace, ribbon and yarn
- Calendars, greeting cards or paper
- Fabric and felt scraps
- Flower catalogs, art and nature magazines
- Plastic six-pack rings from soft drinks
- Other unwanted craft items
- Unwanted CDs
“The goal is to teach kids you can take things and give them new life,” said Rosemary Frank, who is coordinating Recyclebration for the city. “You can give them new life and keep them out of the landfill.
“I remember someone took six-pack rings and made a giant snowflake,” she said. “There’s so many ways to take and reuse materials. The snowflake is hanging behind my door now.”
Kay McCarthy, cultural programs specialist at the Office of Cultural Affairs, said Recyclebration is a good way to reach out to the estimated 10,000 people who come to the festival and educate them about recycling.
“It is something people can do at the festival, but they can also do it at home,” McCarthy said. “They can be saving recyclable things and letting the kids play that way. It’s a creative way to have them play.”
Recyclebration has been around for about 10 years, McCarthy said. It is one of the events put together by Public Works’ volunteer program.
“Our program is rare in that not a lot of cities have a volunteer program aimed at recycling,” said Jill Stevem, public information officer for Public Works. “Other cities have modeled after programs like our household hazardous waste facilities, where we take things like oils, paints, gas, batteries, things you can’t throw in landfills or pour down drains.”
Public awareness is leading to action, she said; the amount of stuff recycled in Columbia has gone up 37 percent in four years.
Frank sees Recyclebration as an event that integrates a creative process into recycling education.
“It’s more of a celebration,” Frank said. “There’s a lot that goes on in that booth. We’re talking to children and their family members, asking them if they do recycle and informing them about it.”