Art From Scrap, a Santa Barbara–based project of environmental education and arts nonprofit Explore Ecology, is a neat way to encourage the reuse of old, well, everything for creative expression. Art From Scrap’s retail store turns waste — from old screws and wire to mannequin heads, maps and magnets — into an artist’s palette. Thousands of pounds of material are donated each year. The store is vast, filled with everything reminiscent of Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium

Explore Ecology offers drop-off and pickup services for a wide variety of materials, which are summarized in the database. Just follow this link to find out what Art From Scrap accepts — “a world of possibilities,” as their site proclaims. A nonprofit, Art From Scrap offers tax receipts for donations and makes materials available to teachers at a discount. There is also a full calendar of local recycling, art and sustainability programs for the community. 

Founded by parents in the 1990s to encourage environmental awareness, Explore Ecology has gone digital. They offer a selling tool, ReUseSB, that turns the city into a vast thrift store that is saving stuff that would otherwise be thrown into landfills. Users can arrange to donate or shop for thrift deals through the ReUseSB app. It’s an excellent model for regional and municipal recirculation of products. Ten percent of every sale at ReUseSB is donated to support ongoing community recirculation and children’s environmental education programs. 

What a great approach, Santa Barbara! Keep up the good work in recirculation and ecology education.

By Mitch Ratcliffe

Mitch is the publisher at and Director of Digital Strategy and Innovation at Intentional Futures, an insight-to-impact consultancy in Seattle. A veteran tech journalist, Mitch is passionate about helping people understand sustainability and the impact of their decisions on the planet.