Trash to treasure, TRU holds its first Upcycling event

Mark Hendricks, Contributor Ω

This table was made out of scraps that could have been found around a metal work shop.- PHOTO BY BRENDAN KERGIN

This table was made out of scraps that could have been found around a metal work shop.

What do you do with a random assortment of metal washers, nuts and leftover bits of metal from a shop floor?  Make a fruit bowl out of them of course.

That, along with an end table made from old plywood, broken discarded tiles and extra rebar were TRU student Larissa Pepper’s entries for TRU’s first ever upcycle event that took place on Wednesday, March 27 in the BMO Student Street.

“Just trying to make something new out of something old,” Pepper said.

Upcycling is the process of taking old discarded materials and turning them into something new.

Students were able to take part in the upcycling event to earn points towards the new certificate in leadership in environmental sustainability. The certificate can be earned alongside any degree and is formally acknowledged on the student’s transcript.

“It’s unique in the world,” said Peter Tsigaris, the chair of the environmental advisory committee at TRU and the lead organizer for the Upcycle event.  “No other university is offering this kind of certificate.”

According to Tsigaris between 10 and 20 students participated.

Students who participated in the Upcycle event earned three of the 12 points needed for the certificate. Attending the event awarded one.

The top three student entrants also received a $100 tuition waiver for the certificate in leadership in environmental sustainability as well as $20 bookstore cards.

Besides the student creations there was also a table that was giving demonstrations on how to make bowls out of old newspaper, a booth for more information on the new certificate and an extremely popular popcorn stand.

Local artist Bill Frymire was also at the event to show off his upcycled art.

He displayed two pieces. One was a portrait of Queen Elizabeth made entirely out of Canadian pennies and the other was a portrait of Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones that was constructed entirely of beer bottle caps.

“I like to use material that says something about the final results,” Frymire said.

The crafting of the pieces is time consuming. The portrait of the Queen took more than 100 hours of labour consisted of 3,800 pennies of precise shades narrowed down from 12,000.

“A lot of people look down on recycled art, there’s sort of a stigma there,” Frymire said. “So that’s something that we need to overcome.”

Pepper believes that upcycling is something that everyone should try.

“Just try it, you never know how it’s going to turn out,” Pepper said. “And you just might make something you really love.”