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The Art of Repurposing

Gabriella Rodriguez-Sanchez, Reporter

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In 2013, the U.S. generated around 254 million tons of trash and only about 34.3 percent of it was recycled. This is equal to each person throwing away about 4.6 pounds of waste everyday. Many in the Garland community are starting to accumulate items they already have, or can find, and repurpose them to decrease the amount of waste they produce. These activists are using anything from fabric to bottle caps to create artwork or tools that can be used in place of buying and using excess materials.
Sophomore Adamaris Hernandez says she loves to repurpose fabric and rope to make clothing and fashion accessories. Her favorite items to make are pillows and blankets to donate to the homeless. She often stops by different shelters to help the homeless get the items they may need.
“I enjoy making items that I can give to others, because it makes me feel better to know people are actually being taken care of,” Hernandez said.
According to Hernandez, being able to decrease how much waste is being made in her community is a real goal that she has set for herself. She added that using what she has can be difficult at times but is beneficial to reaching her goal.
“Sometimes I don’t always have what I need for a project, but as long as I’m not adding to the problem, not always having what I don’t necessarily need is all right,” she said.
Hernandez is an advocate for recycling items as opposed to having an excess of unneeded waste. Repurposing is special to her, because each time she sees the amount of waste reduced she feels a sense of belonging.
“The more people that help recycle and repurpose what we already have, the more people will actually benefit from not having to live in a waste-filled environment,” Hernandez said. “The landfills are already crammed full of trash as it is. I don’t want to have to swim through garbage to get from place to place.”
Art teacher Stephanie Shaffer said that she uses recycled materials in many of her sculptures as her way of stopping materialism and making more waste.
“I grew up in California, and we learned to live off of what we have as opposed to always going to the store to get more,” Shaffer said. “There is always creativity and engineering that can come together to find a solution to any problem.”
Shaffer said that being able to use different types of material in ways they wouldn’t normally be used is what makes repurposing items for art so magical.
“Visually your brain recognizes what an item is, but when you put it in a different environment it serves a different function and it creates an element of curiosity,” Shaffer said.
According to Shaffer, repurposing items has been a big part of her life. As a member of the Garland community, she rarely has any trouble finding materials she may need for a project.
“If we ever need an abundance of something I can always ask around the school or in my community. There is a network where I can ask for the materials I may want to use,” Shaffer said.

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