Photo by Aerin Dunford


Every day, people everywhere churn out mountains of plastic and non-biodegradable waste that threaten to eclipse our living spaces. In a lifetime, the average American will throw away 600 times his or her adult weight in garbage. Fifteen million sheets of paper are thrown away every five minutes; 60,000 plastic bags are tossed out every second.

Contemplating the immense amounts of waste that human beings generate can easily leave us feeling overwhelmed and disheartened. But what happens if we begin to see to garbage an asset, rather than as an intractable problem? Upcycling, the practice of converting waste materials into products of greater value, is a philosophy that transforms the way we conceive of waste. Seeing our trash as a resource and converting it into treasure is a form of creative and joyful play.

With the guidance of our friends Aerin Dunford and Sergio Beltrán who are upcyclers living in Oaxaca, Mexico, we’ve developed upcycling workshops and practices at the Old Oak Dojo. Come join us in learning how to:

  • Cut old wine and beer bottles into beautiful glasses and vases
  • Transform soda cans into jewelry
  • Create coasters, baskets and bowls from old magazines
  • Roll used paper into beautiful beads
  • Upcycle PET bottles into bracelets, boxes and flowers