From Trash To Treasure
Dumpster Diving. There really is a term for it. Wikihow describes it to be a sport, a popular hobby for the frugal and an environmentally and socially conscious way of life.
With a little bit of imagination, trash can be transformed into treasure. Children are open to it and excited by it. Adults on the other hand are still a bit apprehensive to even using discarded items, the idea of playing with other peoples garbage is not something we were meant to do. But the times have changed. Society now recognises the need to reduce, reuse, recycle and with it comes an exciting new realm of creativity.
I wish I got a photo of the rummaging - my six-year-old son had pointed out a pile of boxes twice on recycling day, outside the village shops on the way back from school. For two weeks I had driven past, but this time I noted yes he really really did need those boxes. He just couldn’t believe someone would throw away perfectly good quality boxes, it really surprised him, as if they were throwing away perfectly good toys, no difference to him. And why wasn’t anyone else grabbing them? he was genuinely baffled.
A Child Sees A Pile Of Inspiration, Not Garbage
‘Before anyone else got to them’ we pulled over as the rain began to drizzle down. Now there is this image stuck firmly in my mind of my son clambering over piles of big boxes all tidy stacked and organised, selecting out the best of the best. His biggest ‘score’ were the green and grey coloured egg crates, and many of them. By the time he had what he wanted the rain had set in, a dog had stopped to check out the action and I noticed people walking by were beginning to wonder who had left a young child digging through garbage on his own. Add to this image the incoming mist made it feel like we were in a scene of a bizarre movie. He arrived back at the car with armfuls. The car was so tight with 3 kids and cardboard piled high it was a decision between the box in his carseat or himself. It was a close call… all for the joy of creating….
From Inspiration To Opportunity
Our spontaneous scavenging led to many ongoing discussions about why and what we throw away, how some things can instead be fixed, reused or repurposed. We discovered a delightful book called The Dumpster Diver. The message of this book nurtures the reduce, re-use, recycle spirit, getting kids thinking about how one man’s trash, can be another man’s treasure. The book even has a creative activity guide to go with it.
Freitag is just one of the many inspiring stories to share with the kids of a successful brand based on upcycling. Bags and accessories are made from materials that spent their first life on the road. Likewise SkateBacks - upcycled skateboard scraps are another great new story. My son was intrigued, excited and motivated watching these video stories. He was happier to discover adults are not throwing away everything as he first thought. I’ve only mentioned a few examples, but there’s even a playful toy MakeDo connectors - encouraging creation using discarded items such as packaging. That desire to reuse is a good one and I think I’ll let my son scavenge whenever he really feels the urge to.
There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening out there with the booming ‘maker movement’ and we’re going to continue to see even more from our children as they change our ‘throw away’ culture we’ve all grown up in and grown too comfortable with.