20 Trash To Treasure Gifts for the Winter Holidays

This holiday season consider buying (or making) a recycled gift for your loved ones. Remember it is good for the environment your loved ones and some times also your pocket book (depending on the artist). Below is a list of 20 innovative recycled gifts I found online. Take a look.


1.Soda Can Tree Ornaments










Giving ornaments as a gift is kind of odd to me, but I know it happens. These cute little ornaments sold on ebay by meflosharon can be found as cheap as 99 cents. They are made of recycled soda cans and other recycable materials.


2. Motorcycle Parts Desk Clock










This unique clock was made from a recycled Honda motorcycle engine cam drive gear. It was designed by artist Steven Shaver. It isn't very pretty, but it is something perhaps a mechanic or car fanatic may appreciate. The price? $250.


3. Glass Bottle Clothes Rack





Here is an innovative coat rack made of recycled wine bottles necks affixed to a sheet of glass. The funny thing is is that it comes with a lot of warnings: do not hand behind a door, secure on wall studs, do not put too much weight on it, etc. I guess it serves more as a decoration then as a clothes rack. Still it is a unique gift.


4. Skateboard Bracelet










Lindsay Jo Holmes, from Portland, Oregon handmade these pretty bracelets. To make these bracelets she used old damaged skateboards from her skate shop because she wanted to give skateboards a new life. Each bracelet is unique in color and design.


5. Magazine Flower Pots









In Vietnam a company named Tiger Lily recycles pages from old magazines, rolls them up tightly and affixes them to zinc metal interior cans to make these colorful vases. You can buy a set of 3 (6" H, 5" H, 4 H) for about $20. Get a set of recycled magazine coasters, wastebaskets, picture frames, mats and so on at an affordable price for the person in your family that owns or works for a magazine company.


6. Homegrown Sandals










These sandals are organic and eco-friendly. The sandals' soles are made from recycled tires. The straps are made from hand woven organic cotton fabric. The foot beds are lined with loomed Abyssinian jute. Their purchase (about $20) also helps support injured former soldiers in Ethiopia. The sandals come in various sizes and colors for both men and women.


7. Giant Moths and Flowers Sculptures








Michelle Stitzlein's beautiful sculptures are built from recycled material such as: license plates, car parts, mirrors, trash can lids, piano keys, bicycle tires, scrap wood, bottle caps, aluminum siding, faucet handles, oil drum lids, phone hand sets, etc. A sculpture of this size, 11-feet takes Michelle about 3 weeks to complete.


8. Recycled Yarn










If you know someone that loves to knit, crochet etc., take a look at Wool Peddler as a source for eco-friendly yarns. At Wool Peddler you will find a colorful selection of recycled silk yarns in different twists and sizes as well as other knitting accessories for sale.


9. Baseball Bat Chopsticks










Here is a gift for the baseball player or fan that loves takeout. These decorative chopsticks are made of white ash from splintered Japanese baseball bats. The non-toxic, chopsticks made with a natural finish can be disassemble and easily packed away for travel in the carrying case.


10. Reclaimed Oriental Rug










This pretty rug is made from recycled plastic bottles and packing materials. It can be used indoors or outdoors and comes in various sizes. The rug won't trap water or mildew, can easily be cleaned with a sponge and is stain resistant.


11. Light Rail









If you have the $500 to spend, take a look at this gift idea. It is a vechile handmade in Texas by artist Jay Garrison. He uses old gadgets he finds in thrift stores and garage sales to make his sculptures. Because the Light Rail is one-of-a-kind once it sales there is no other but the good news is that he has more fascinating sculptures (trains, hot air balloons, etc) for sale.


12. Family Size Envirope Hammock







This family size hammock is made of recycled soda bottles. It is durable, softer than the virgin polyester made hammocks and is mildew- and UV-resistant. It can hold up to 450 pounds and measures 5 feet by 7 feet, with an overall length of 13 1/2 feet.


13. Bottletop Candleholders










If you enjoy folkart from SouthAfrica take a look at these colorful and tall candleholders made by craftspeople in the townships. They are made from recycled bottlecaps and come in various lengths. These particular candleholders are 8.25" tall and sold as a pair. They are also currently on sale.

14. Bottlecap Lures










For the fisherman in your family here is an eco-friendly gift that will allow him/her to keep fishing in a more sustainable way. These are bottlecap lures from the Bottle Cap Lure Company. You can buy the lure in packs of 6 or 12.


15. Fish Lawn Sculpture






Here is an ugly garden sculpture for the weird gardener in your family. It was designed and handmade by Fred Conlon in Utah. The sculpture is an open wide mouth fish made with a mixture of new and recycled parts: oil canister, pieces of hand-welded sheet metal and machine screws.


16. Telephone Wire Bowl










Considering that landline phone are quickly being replaced by cellphones, there is a lot of telephone wire to get rid of these days, but smart crafters found a way to recycle telephone wire into these very colorful bowls. These fair trade bowls are made in Vietnam. A small bowl costs $36 dollars and a large one just a few dollars more.


17. Napkin Rings










Setting up the dinner table for the holidays is a big deal for some families. These napkin rings would be a neat little gift for the person that loves to set the table for occasions. The napkin rings are made by hand from recycled glass by Ghanaian artisans. Each set comes with six napkin rings.


18. Aluminum Serveware








Here is another gift for that special someone that loves to decorate the dinner table on special occasions. This elegant Spoon Rest is part of a line of serveware made of recycled aluminum. All the serveware is hand crafted and can be found at Mbare along with many other recycled gift ideas.


19. CD Chandelier










This is a chandelier made by Josh Owen from the United States, with a pile of CD jewel cases. It the kind of neat chandelier I would see in a college student's modern apartment hanging right over the recycled breakfast table.


20. Reclaimed Soccer Ball Purse










This unique bag made of an old soccer ball turned inside out is handmade in Germany. It is approximately 9 inches in diameter and the strap is 48 inches long. Inside each bag is a pocket made of reclaimed truck-tarp material. As many of the gift ideas above, each bag is unique and will vary in color and desing when ordered.

These 20 gift ideas are only a few of the many I saw available online. Below is a list of links you can check out too if these are of no interest to you. Also remember that consignment stores, thrift stores, resale shops, freecycle, craigslist and so on, are all places to turn to for gifts or things you can use to make your own recycled gifts. After all it's not just about the environment but your pocket book too.

Culture Shop
The Daily Green
Find Gift
The Hunger Site
This Next
Uncommon Goods


Nov 13, 2008
by Toby
Toby's picture

Neat and unusual..

good finds, gloria!

Nov 13, 2008
by Beth Graddon-Hodgson
Beth Graddon-Hodgson's picture

 I'd be tempted to try and

 I'd be tempted to try and make my own soda can ornament, it could be a fun rainy/snowy day craft. Maybe not for kids though, because cans do have sharp edges!

 I do love a lot of these ideas though!

Beth Hodgson
Innovative Business Writer