Recycling charity gets creative with trash diverted from landfill

A US charity that has been recycling waste materials for artists and teachers to use for more than 40 years has diverted the equivalent weight of a thousand school buses away from landfill and into classrooms.

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - The weird and wonderful world of SCRAP - a San Francisco non-profit - helping teachers and artists get creative - and also the environment.

The eclectic collection was all bound for landfill before SCRAP diverted it here to keep California's classrooms creating.

Scrap was founded in 1976 when a program to place artists in schools made no allowance for materials for them to work with.

​"Truly the essential part of Scrap is creativity, not only with children but with adults. We want parents to be involved in the schools, we want teachers to have the supplies to do their work but mainly artists are the real problem introducing art into the classroom because if they had no supplies they were not really welcomed by the teachers. They had to come with their baggage. So this was very fortunate because it was at a time that this country was beginning to believe in recycling, re-using. So it was just a perfect time, so we had a lot of supplies donated to us, trucks of supplies," said ​Scrap founder Anne Marie Theilen.

Scrap now calls itself America's oldest creative re-use centre - and the inspiration for hundreds of others like it around the world.

Selling to artists and the public - and ten times a year, giving to teachers whatever they need free of charge.

"We have goals to divert more materials all the time. We're averaging about 250 tonnes a year of material diverted. That's equivalent in weight to about 25 empty school buses every year. So that much material doesn't go to landfill, we don't have the pollution from the trucks, we don't have the pollution from shipping and re-manufacturing," said Ben Delaney, the executive director of Scrap.

Materials are also used to run free workshops designed to inspire sustainable creativity

"There is illusions that we have this planet forever. I think we are here for a short time. I think we definitely are going to disintegrate eventually. We have misused a lot of our resources. It's not only the forest and trees but it's people. We are misusing people. We are not educating people to a point where they understand how environmental issues evolve constantly and our planet is in great difficulty. It's known, we don't want to recognise it however," said Mr Delaney.
Combining landfill and creativity - in the most sustainable way.