Trash to Treasure

Artists and entrepreneurs remake and revitalize waste into great stuff!

Teracycle actually pays for old juice pouches and turns them into insulated coolers and bags; 

Resource Revival takes bike chains and gears and turns them into clocks, picture frames and bowls.

turns old wetsuits and etc. into fashionable laptop and camera cases

Many new companies are turning Vinyl banners into fashion bags here's just one company we found:

The Redoux Parlor

Local fashion designers take recycled material and old clothes and turn them into the latest fashions

Reuse Alternatives 
When the usual donation centers turn down your usable items, there's still hope...and it may help!
Reuse is popular in Lane County, and local reuse centers get so full that they need to be more selective than we would want. Lane County Waste Management gets frequent inquiries about what to do with items that still have life but thrift stores and reuse centers have turned down.
Try these ideas:

List item for free on internet bulletin boards such as
Craigslist (free section)
EugeneFreeRecycle (a Yahoo group)

Setting household furnishings out at the curb
on a sunny day with a free sign on it is often successful at catching the eye of someone in need or someone who envisions a project in your item. One person's trash is another person's treasure. Be sure that it is not obstructing traffic, of course, and watch the weather to avoid damage to the item.

Talk to friends and neighbors
, or post a note on a bulletin board, in neighborhood newsletters, at your church, at a community center, or at a grocery store.

Try these resources too!!

The Materials Exchange Center for Community Arts, offers free supplies to teachers, a scrapper's delight in supplies, workshops and studio space. Containers too small to go in commingled recycling can help a crafter organize their materials. Wine corks can be turned into a variety of crafted items from bulletin boards to decorations. Bottlecaps, fabric remnants, stickers, yarn and all sorts of scraps can all be inspiration to the sustainable artists and crafters in our area. Get to know your local MECCA, right next door to the Eugene Train Station.

Reuse is great for those items that are still in good shape, but what about those that just need a bit of tender care and repair? Many repair shops also take donations that they can fix, and then sell. Supporting repair shops build stong, sustainable local economies with jobs that don't get shipped overseas through providing services to neighbors--in this case, repair. Lamps, dolls, furniture, cameras, hot tubs, watches, garden tools and equipment, appliances, bicycles and stereos.

For industrial materials....
have a look around
The goal of IMEX is to conserve energy, resources and landfill space by helping businesses and organizations find alternatives to the disposal of valuable materials or wastes.


IMEX is one of the premiere materials exchanges of the Pacific Northwest. IMEX is a free listing service designed to help businesses find markets for their industial by-products, surplus materials and wastes. Businesses "advertise" their surplus/unwanted materials, or materials that they are seeking by submitting an electronic IMEX listing form. The listings are then posted on the IMEX web site where they are viewed by interested waste generators and waste recyclers. You can search for a wide variety of both wanted and available materials on the IMEX web. Be sure to check out the “Miscellaneous” category for the more obscure items. If you are looking for someone to take your excess glass slag, or if you are seeking off spec acetone, often times you may find what you are looking for, through IMEX. For more information, please contact IMEX directly at (206) 263-8465, or by email at

Other common items that can be reused:

Pallets: Pacific Pallet (541-688-2887); Eugene Pallet Services (541-485-0549).

Automobiles: Whether they're broken or still running smoothly, unwanted cars can be donated to nonprofit organizations (such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation's Wheels for Wishes). These organizations may tow away your old vehicle and then auction or recycle it. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit, and you might be eligible for a tax deduction for your charitable donation.

Motorcycles (wrecked, broken, or unwanted): Cyclepsycho Motorcycle Recycling (541-461-9279).

Carpet: If carpet is older or stained, use it to smother weeds, protect a garage floor, or soundproof rooms, or list it in "freebie" postings such as Craigslist.

Prescription drugs and medical devices: Unless clearly stated otherwise, do not flush prescriptions down the toilet. Call the White Bird Clinic (541-342-1295) to see if they can use them. If reuse is impossible, you can still dispose of medications safely. Look for medication drop boxes at the Coburg, Springfield, and Eugene Police Departments, the Cottage Grove City Hall lobby, the Lane County Sheriff's office, and the Florence Justice Center lobby.

Leftover gift wrap, calendars and greeting cards can be crafted into new projects. For templates, instructions, and more ideas, see our Less is Best Holiday page. 

Broken tile
and dishes can be used to create mosaics.