Author Archives: Jen Mack

What Can I Do With… Styrofoam

The dreaded Styrofoam. It sneaks into your life by way of product packaging, take-out containers, and mailed parcels. The next thing you know, it’s taking up space in your trash can (since Austin is not currently set up to recycle styrofoam through single stream recycling) and being carted off to the landfill. To live. Forever and ever.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. While Austin Creative Reuse also cannot accept styrofoam, you can find a new home for it with a tiny bit of effort.

Donate

Donate packing peanuts at your nearest UPS store.

Freecycle or give away packing peanuts on Craigslist.

Recycle

You can also recycle all styrofoam (free for drop-off only) at:

Texas Disposal Systems
3016 FM 1327
Buda, TX 78610

TDS accepts styrofoam, but they must be clean of food residue, plastic film, tape and labeling and not in bags.

(Updated and accurate as of July 2015)

Educators Material Drive Recap

We were delighted to offer our second material give-away to Austin area educators in October. With the help of generous individual and institutional donors and dozens of dedicated volunteers, we were proud to provide free supplies to classroom teachers, early-childhood educators, home-school teachers and families, after-school support providers, and others in the community. Some critical stats:

  • Teachers representing over 4400 students attended the event.
  • We diverted over two tons of material from the landfill.
  • We gave away 75 pre-packed educational activity kits and featured 2 more model hands-on lessons that could be produced with some of the materials we were giving away.

We all got a little nervous when rainfall in the area topped six inches the night before, but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for the event or the willingness of educators to come out for it! Thanks to everyone who participated. We’re looking forward to finding more ways to serve our Austin educator community in the future.

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November Board Meeting

November 12, 2013 at 7pm
Directors Present: Harley, Rebecca, Cindy, Leslie, Kaci, Carole
Visitors: Alice, Christine

Event Successes: Educators Drive and Craft Night
Between our Educators Drive and our craft night, we’ve been having a great month! It’s been super exciting!

More Great Events Coming Up!
We have two great events coming up! EAST is 11/15-16 and 11/23-24 on Tillery Street. We’ll also be at Austin’s Holiday Stroll downtown on December 7th.

Ready to share your latest reuse creation or get some inspiration from others?

Are you proud of a craft that you have made recently? We’d love to see what you have created. Send us your photos and let us know if we can add to one of our blog posts. Instagram users tag photo(s) with #reuseATX.

Here are a few examples of items that our board member, Jan Bland, has created this past year.
1. A fleece scarf turned into an ipad holder
ipad holder
2. children’s book pages modge podged onto a frame
picture frame from book pages
3. flowers made from maps
flowers from maps
5. earring holder from a picture frame
earring holder

October Board Meeting

October 8, 2013 at 7pm
Directors Present: Harley, Rebecca, Katy, Cindy, Leslie, Kaci, Angela
Visitors: Rachel, Alice, Jonathan, Christine, Carole, Jan

Educators Material Drive
Our 2nd Educators Material Drive is this Sunday, October 13th from 9-2pm and we could still use some volunteers. Please sign up for a shift this weekend and tell any educators you know about the event!

Official Austin Reuse Day and Austin Reuse Week
We’re pleased to announce that Austin will be proclaiming October 20th as Austin Reuse Day to kick off Austin Reuse Week! Rebecca will be making a statement about this proclamation at City Hall.

We’ll be at East Austin Studio Tour!
We’re super excited to be a part of EAST again this year! Look for more information about our event and booth in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

 

Meet our interns!


Alice ArmstrongAlice Armstrong
is currently finishing degrees in Urban Studies and Plan II Honors at the University of Texas at Austin. Her academic interests range from environmental planning and design to cooperative housing development and science fiction literature. She has a background in studio art and plans to pursue masters degrees in Architecture and Urban Planning.


Jonathan DavisJonathan Davis is a fresh UT graduate with a degree in Rhetoric & Writing and enjoys writing, songwriting, practicing and listening to music, film, philosophy, literature, analog electronics, backcamping/camping/hiking and playing sports.


rachelRachel is a Studio Arts major at the University of Texas at Austin. As an artist her main interests lies in painting and two dimensional work, though she is trying to branch out to more three dimensional sculpture and installation as well. Someday she hopes to own her own store that specializes in restoration and design- think of a small scale, curated, actually vintage, version of Anthropologie. Until then she is focusing on her studies and trying to learn and experience as much as she can in her time at school and in Austin.

 

How to Make a Gift Bow

Make a Bow from ReuseCan you believe we’ve been buying expensive predictable bows, when we could have been remaking almost any image into one of a kind little gift?

Materials

  • Magazines, Map, any paper that is 10 ½ inches long
  • Scissors
  • Tape, glue or staples

Step 1. Cut 9 strips of paper, ¾” wide and 10 ½” long. Leave three pieces just as they are (10 1/2” long).  Cut 1 inch off of 3 of the pieces (now 9 1/2” long).  Cut 2 inches off of 2 of the pieces (now 81/2”long).  Cut the final piece to 3 ½” long. (Image 1)

bows-image1

Image 1

Step 2. Bend the 3 ½” strip into a circle.  Secure with double sided tape, a staple, glue, glue dots, etc.  With all other strips fold both ends to the middle, twist the ends in opposite directions to create a loop at each end. Secure. (image 2 and image 3)

Image 2

Image 2

Image 3

Image 3

Step 3. Take the longest three pieces and place them on top of each other with equal space in between.  Secure.  Do the same with the middle 3 pieces and secure.  Attach the two smallest pieces together.  (image 4 and Image 5)

Image 4

Image 4

Image 5

Image 5

Step 4: Attach the 3 layers of bow together and secure the circle to the top.

Bow kits

Enjoy!

Trash Makeover Challenge

Texas Campaign for the Environment is throwing an exciting party to celebrate 22 years of protecting our air, water, land and health with a Trash Makeover Challenge on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at Ironwood Hall, 505 East 7th Street / Austin, TX 78701.

The Trash Makeover Challenge will include a runway fashion show, a fabulous silent auction and tasty delectables by Austin chefs. The Trash Makeover will be a Zero Waste event – at least 90% of discards will be reused, recycled or composted.

Fashion Challenge: The fabulous Tina Sparkles leads our Fashion Challenge that will feature clothing made from recycled materials.
Silent Auction: The silent auction will include items made from recycled materials and will include many of the designs created for the fashion challenge. Chef Challenge: Austin chefs will be challenged to show “what green really means in cuisine,” judged by a panel of food experts.

Tickets can be purchases on-line at https://www.steinhardt.us/texasenvironment/donate/donate_event.cfm

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Some words from Tina Sparkles about the inspiration for her Systems Supernova Computer Wire Dress (2011):

In the summer of 2010, as an experiment and art project of sorts, I made a dress out of old computer wires; it pretty much took the whole summer to complete the dress, which I named Systems Supernova. Part of the experiment included doing a bit of research about e-waste. The dress explores the concept of systems thinking as it relates to our ecosystem. Each computer wire is situated in a closed loop system that interacts with all the other systems within the dress. Movement within one system influences other parts of the whole.

Systems Supernova Dress by Tina Sparkles (photo by Andrew Sterling)

Systems Supernova Dress by Tina Sparkles (photo by Andrew Sterling)

 

It all started out when I got a knock on my door from someone at Texas Campaign for the Environment. They were going door to door with a petition to get a new standard in place requiring computer and other electronics manufacturers in Texas to take back their products for recycling. Thankfully, the measure passed and now companies like Dell must offer a free recycling program for their customers.

Since I recently upgraded from a Dell to a Macbook, I was really excited about this news, so I checked out Dell’s website for info on the recycling program. I was particularly interested in knowing what they do with the computers once they take them back for recycling – like how are they recycled and where, especially since I had heard about “fake” electronics recycling programs where companies say they recycle your old electronics, but in reality they just collect them and sell them as a commodity to developing countries.

This sounds like it might be fine and good to have people re-use our old and outdated products instead of sending them to a landfill, but actually, many of the products are obsolete and unusable, so what actually happens is that workers in places like China and Nigeria are stripping the electronics of their precious metals and other valuable resources by hand in their homes without any safety precautions.

The problem with this whole scenario is that the electronics contain lots of toxic elements like lead, cadmium, mercury, chromium, polyvinyl chlorides and flame retardants. What’s worse is that to extract the metals, the parts are openly burned, thereby releasing into the air one of the most dangerous toxins of all, dioxin. Studies have been conducted on the children, water, soil and air in the towns that do this type of work and the news is not good – our electronics are poisoning people and the environment! Ugh. So, I did some more research to find out what is being done about this problem and what we can do to make sure this doesn’t continue.

I want to thank Texas Campaign for the Environment for inspiring me to take on Electronic Waste and inspiring my Systems Supernova Dress! I am so glad to be a part of the Trash Makeover Challenge on Saturday, September 24th at 7 PM @ Highland Mall, where a former clothing store will be transformed into a fashion runway and recycling will be the theme of the night.

You can learn so much more about e-waste and landfill initiatives and accomplishments by Texas Campaign for the Environment at http://www.texasenvironment.org/

Whole Foods Market Volunteer Week

We were lucky enough to be selected as a nonprofit participating in Whole Foods Market’s Global Office Volunteer Week! We had lots of participation and were able to create 62 teacher kits to make maracas, made and organize new business cards, cut out fabric letters for fabric banners, and created Austin Creative Reuse signs.

susannahsusanmelissaangela eileen

acrkits-sm
Thank you to everyone who came out to help us!

September 2013 Board Meeting

September 10, 2013 at 7pm
Directors Present: Harley, Rebecca, Katy, Cindy, Leslie, Kaci

Yard Sale – Take 2!

We still have lots of materials available, including leftover fabric from our fabric sale, so we’ll be holding one more yard sale on September 28th!

Educators Material Drive

We’re tentatively scheduling our next Educators Material Drive for mid-October! We’re still nailing down the location and some of the final details, but we’re really excited to offer this event to educators this fall!

Thanks to Carole and April of Fabricker! 

Our Fabric Sale was a huge success thanks so much to our fantastic volunteer, Carole, and April at Fabricker!

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Center Hours:
Mon-Wed: CLOSED
Thu/Fri: 10AM - 4PM
Sat: 11AM -6PM
Sun: 12PM - 6PM
Curbside Pickup, 10am-4pm, Daily
Tel: (512) 375-3041