ArtCorps Artist Allison Havens and the AJAASSPIB Youth Leaders in Conservation transform trash into trash cans as part of their ongoing efforts to keep their community clean.
When I first met the youth group in El Nance started by the previous ArtCorps Artist Monica Gutierrez, I asked them to brainstorm the topics and activities they were interested in working on this year. Out of this first session, we came up with the idea to make trashcans for the community to help combat the problem of waste in the streets.
The original idea was to use wood for these trash cans but after a chance encounter with Art3 D-Barrios, an amazing collective of artists from Tegucigalpa who are using recycled trash to make mosaics and murals around Honduras, I realized that we needed to figure out how to re-purpose trash ourselves to make these trash cans. The problem with plastic trash in these communities, and around the world in general, is daunting. Plastic doesn’t decompose and when burned, it is extremely toxic to the environment and is linked to cancer and various lung and skin problems. In places like Honduras that lack an organized trash collection system, it is still too common for houses to burn their trash, including plastics.
For our trash can, we ended up using about 45 plastic three-liter soda bottles, wire and rocks to make our prototype. The process took a little longer then expected but we did it! And that’s 45 plastic bottles that we won’t end up breathing in the air. And 45 plastic bottles that might go on to inspire other trashy ideas.