I have a stack of artwork from the first half of the school year. I also have some older pieces stacked up since I’ve been sorting and organizing during the break. I thought it would be a great opportunity to share with you how to recycle/process the pieces especially if you are doing year end clearing out or had artwork sent home before the break.
I’ve sorted two ways: as it comes in and after holding onto it for a while to make a decision. Both ways have pluses and minuses so I encourage you to find a system that works for you and if it’s both, great.
Mom tip: I learned this from my mom. Go ahead and put the date and age on the back of artwork as son as it comes home in case you do end up saving it. It’s been my experience that so much comes I cannot remember the dates later if I stack art to process.
Here we go!
Glitter anything must go in the trash. Glitter is a microplastic that does not biodegrade. Glitter just keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller plastic pieces.
If you remove the cupcake/muffin liners and made sure there is no glitter left, the paper plate with its small amount of glue residue can be recycled.
Deployed service member guideline: Glitter should not be mailed to deployed service members as it can get caught on their uniforms and can compromise their location.
Paper with more paper, marker, crayon, pencil, plain stickers (not puffy or glittery), with a small amount of glue (enough to adhere but not make big clumps) may be recycled in the blue curbside recycling carts.
Remove google eyes, sequins, etc. from paper and throw those in the trash if you can’t reuse them. Sometimes google eyes are reusable if the glue can be peeled off.
Painted paper is acceptable in the recycling carts.
Thick, canvas-level amounts of paint are better off in the trash since that may almost minimize the fact there’s paper underneath. Paper is recycled into more paper. If there’s too much paint the base paper won’t provide a quality paper to recycle it’s better off in the trash. The sorting machines may not be able to scan thickly painted paper correctly due to the weight of the painted paper.
Laminated and contact paper items go in the trash.
These items cannot be separated into paper and laminate after the lamination has been applied.
Feathers should be removed and in this example put in the trash.
Craft feathers are usually dyed and dyes should not be put in the compost carts. If the feathers are natural, they could be composted if the glue is removed.
Recycle the paper with stickers.
Cotton balls are not always cotton, sometimes they may be a cotton/polyester blend. “When in doubt throw them out.” Pull the cotton balls off and rip off any remaining reside and put in the trash.
The paper can go in the recycling cart.
Foam goes in the trash if you don’t want to reuse it.
I have had trouble removing enough glue and paper from the back of foam that I do not try to reuse it, but you may have better luck.
I would rip off all the paper around the apple here and recycle the paper while trashing the apple.
Remove beads, string and other items that you would not consider “paper” before recycling the paper portion.
Reuse the string and beads if you can.
I keep string and ribbon bits in my sewing kit for these purposes.
I have a craft drawer for random bits and beads.
Canvas can be painted over and reused.
Check with your local art supply stores, craft stores, galleries and online groups.
Did I miss anything? My child is only five so I may not have received every type of art yet! Please let me know.