Have you ever seen such amazing junk?

My recent post about reusing old plastic bottles inspired me to look around at other ways to use, well, garbage. And I found a site that really made me think twice about the contents of my own garbage can.

This Australian site, called the Hunter Waste Education Group , has been enouraging people to make art from garbage since the year 2000. And the results are simply astonishing in some cases, with submissions from adults and schoolchildren alike.

When you visit the site, go straight to the gallery here . The art is collected into submission years and runs the gamet. Everything from junk metal, used board games and scrap wood, to plastic bottles, beer caps and old tires are transformed from the ordinary to the simply extraordinary. A selection of my favorites are below...

tire car

hair dog

bottle lamp

Metal crab

Can head

used games

cap dog

slide frame

plastic book

cap turtle

bag chair

PCB lamp

Disc sculpture

CD tower

x-ray bag

football boots

jean chair

Those are just a handful of the submissions on the site. There are over 200 in the gallery and each one is unique and wonderful. If you have 10 minutes to spare, check them all out .

Now, in this day and age of iPods and MySpace, personalization and individuality has become an important part of our culture. We're all looking for ways to differentiate ourselves, and accessorize accordingly. Here's a way to add something unique and interesting to your home or office environment made simply from the stuff you throw out daily. Some are complex, some are simplistic. With a tube of glue and a few dozen of those AOL CDs, you could make a Stairway To Heaven style tower. It doesn't take any real effort to keep all you old, used plastic bags stuffed inside a bean bag chair. And the board-game work of art could be thrown together in a few hours and make a stunning feature on any wall.

There's a Jack Johnson song on the Curious George soundtrack that says "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle" and I think that's good advice for all of us. From simple plastic milk bottles to old plastic shopping bags, think twice before you throw them out. Maybe you can make something from them, and if they're good enough for you then they could certainly be good enough to sell. One man's trash is absolutely another man's treasure in this case.

Put your creative thinking caps on and get to work. And if you do something cool, why not share it with all of us? Have an inspired and "green" day.

Additional photo credit: All other shots, HWEG.
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Guest's picture

This makes me want to create! Does it count as cheating if I copy the bean bag chair idea? I have so many plastic bags under the sink in my kitchen that they are about to start to overflow!

Paul Michael's picture

put your own unique spin on it Beth. There's nothing wrong with taking an idea and making it your own. Plus, you're helping the environment and creating a functional piece of art.

Guest's picture

Hi Paul, some really cool stuff here - the footy boots are seriously cute!

I wanted to shoot you an email to tell you how much I enjoy your writing, but couldn't find any contact details?

Paul Michael's picture

Really appreciate that. We all do this in our spare time, so good feedback is always welcome. If you ever need to get in touch, just use the contact  section and label it for Paul Michael. I will be happy to reply with a personal email, I just wouldn't want to give it out here for obvious reasons.

Guest's picture

Though less impressive to the eye than the art above and probably less environmentally conscious, I read this article recently and plan to check it out as soon as I make my way up to Austin one weekend (reside in San Antonio, TX): http://www.roadsideamerica.com/attract/TXAUSjunk.html