Upcycle Solstice/Happy Trashnukkah/Merry Trashmas


We here at Olympia Dumpster Divers would like to wish you an Upcycle Solstice, Happy Trashnukkah, Merry Trashmas and a Recycled Festivus for the Rest of Us!  This year, the eight days of Chanukkah coincide with the winter solstice and Christmas, so we are presenting a combo of trashtastic hanukiahs and X-mas trees all in one post:

Menorah made in Haiti out of recycled 55-gallon oil drums

Christmas tree made from plastic bottles in Haifa via Green Prophet

Go green with a recycled Sprite bottle X-mas tree in Lithuania

Make a glass bottle menorah with instructions on ReadyMade

Hubcap X-mas tree from Unconsumption

Peznorah (and 7 more awesome menorahs) found on geek.com

post consumer recycled plastic Christmas tree via Tikkun, more pics at ElvertBarnes

clothespins hanukiah by Gad Charny, more sustainable menorahs on Green Prophet

There are even more images of creative reuse Christmas trees on Unconsumption, Crisp Green, and Mother Nature Network.  We tried to find an image of the sun made from recycled materials, but couldn’t find one, so Ruby vows to create a sun for the NEXT upcycle solstice celebration.  Happy, Trash-free Holidays from Olympia Dumpster Divers!

This is a hanukiah that Ruby Re-Usable made for the" Twelve Days of Christmas" windows display in downtown Olympia in 2002. These festive, zoftiig ladies are made out of blue and white Hanukkah detritus, with a white candle on each of their heads.


Merry Trashmas 2010


Christmas tree made from plastic bottles

(photo borrowed from creativityrecycled, more info HERE)

Our friend Urban Woodswalker sent us this pic of a colorful tree made from plastic bottles, which inspired Olympia Dumpster Divers to search for more examples of festive trees made from recycled materials:


 recycled plastic bottle Christmas tree in Sydney

(photo by gdanny)


a Christmas tree made out of recycled office water containers

(photo by RequiemDK)


 redneck Christmas tree made with aluminum cans

(photo by 2mnedolz)

For even MORE photos of Christmas trees made from recycled materials, check out Ruby’s flickr gallery of  X-mas trees from recycled materials HERE and The Huffington Post’s Funniest Alternative Christmas Trees HERE and ODD’s 2009 Trashmas post HERE

Merry Trashmas to All, love, etc Ruby

Happy Trashnukkah 2010

For the last night of Hanukkah, a post of some Hanukkah-related items made from trash and other recycled materials:


Origami Dreidel made with a Seven-Up label by Dr Mom


 The Green Candelabrum by Stil Novo Design

Eco friendly menorah made from recycled oak wine barrel staves


Recycled Circuit Board Hanukkah Menorah Geekery 2008 by Debby Arem

 A funky menorah made from all recycled objects : recycled circuit boards,recycled brass bullet casings, recycled brass jewelry stampings, electronic relays


 Facets of Light 1999 by Harriete Estel Berman

 Hanakiah constructed from pre-printed steel from recycled tin containers, “Pushke” Boxes used for the Jewish National Fund, pre-printed steel from doll houses; aluminum rivets; One-half inch acrylic cubes function as feet under the menorah.

 3” height x 21” width x 25.5” length
Photo Credit: Philip Cohen

See some more pics of Hanukkah art and crafts made from recycled materials HERE 

Let There Be Recycled Light!


Basket of Light by Ruby R-U, aka Diane Kurzyna, made from discarded X-mas tree lights and telephone wire for “Weaving Washington,” 1998

The Festival of Lights is over, the days are growing longer, and the holiday lights are being packed up.  Some folks are switching to LEDs, but that doesn’t mean the old lights should be tossed away.  The Olympian has suggestions as to what to do with your unwanted strings of lights HERE

Hillary Newman at the Huffington Post blogged about Heath Nash of South Africa, who reuses recycled plastic bottles to produce creative light fixtures: Recycled Light Has Never Been So Beautiful

Back in the USA, Seattle artist Russ Morgan upcycles glass bottles, punch cups, sea glass, and other glass shards, along with thrift store metal stuff, to create gorgeous chandeliers (Ruby is thrilled to now own one)

Olympia Dumpster Divers Bil Fleming and Pat Tassoni make amazing lamps out of the junk most people throw away

Hope you have been re-illuminated about the possibilities of recycled art in 2008; here’s to a Happy Re-New Year!  love, etc Ruby Re-Usable

Art Isn’t Nice: Deborah Lawrence


A few years ago, Olympia artist Nikki McClure was invited to do a bird-themed Christmas ornament for the White House.  My first thought was “how do I get considered for this art honor” (hey, I am an artist, it is all about me, baby, did you think I was going to say “good for her?!”), along with “eewww, make an X-mas ornament for Bush?” and “hmm, how often do visual artists get recognized at the White House and how can I get on that invite list?”  Now that President-elect Obama will be there, I really really want to be asked to create an ornament for the White House tree.  Maybe there will be a “green” theme, or even just a good old recycled art theme, in which case, Ruby Re-Usable would be golden, right?!

Anyways, while I was mulling about how I would make an appropriate environmental statement while slipping in a sly reference to Hanukkah with my future X-mas ornament, Seattle recycled artist Deborah Lawrence made a political statement with her red, white and blue-themed ornament.  You can read all about the controversy that it has stirred up HERE and HERE and HERE

Reading some of the vitriolic comments, one would think that Dee Dee drew an insulting cartoon depiction of Mohamed, rather than doing what she always does, which is to create visual art with a strong and heartfelt message.

In fact, King County Art Commission’s Heather Dwyer stated that she chose Lawrence because she wasn’t looking for somebody who would blandly decorate an ornament. She was thinking about artists, not illustrators. “I suggested her because of her social engagement — feminism, anti-war, anti-poverty — and knew she’d think of it as an opportunity.”  In other words, Art Isn’t Nice

Meanwhile, Bremerton’s Amy Burnett has an ornament still hanging on the White House tree.  How nice.