Waste 2 Art 4 Kids

Join Al Phemister as he shows you how to create a fabulous work of art out of upcycled plastic bottle tops and other waste materials.

We recommend you watch the video before you gather your materials and tools together to get inspired.

Before you start find a space to work like an old table or work bench. Get help from your favourite adult for any tricky bits. 

Here’s what you will need to make your artwork;


  • A collection of cleaned plastic lids and bottle tops. Start collecting today. How many plastic lids can you save from landfill?
  • Wire coat hangers or old shoe laces. Any wire or string will work.
  • Milk bottles to cut and use as an extra feature (optional)


  • A drill or hammer and nail
  • A surround OK to drill on (an old board or piece of wood will work)
  • A pair of pliers to cut your wire (or scissors if you are using string)

Did you know – facts about waste

Australians produce more waste than any individuals from other countries in the world. An average family produces around 400 kilograms of waste every year.

Every year, about 4 billion plastic bags are used by Australians. The petroleum used to manufacture nine plastic bags is enough to power a car for a kilometre. This also means that the annual amount of plastics used by Australians can power a car for 450 million kilometres.

It takes around 500 years for plastic packaging to start disintegrating. Plastic bottle recycling conserves enough energy to power a computer for 25 minutes.

Places to go for more ideas and inspiration

Netwaste a voluntary regional waste group who get creative about waste.

A New Way of Looking at Recycling with Robert Janson

The Ghost Net Art project, dealing with the waste in our oceans.

40 Terrific Works of Art made From Common Trash 

Waste for good – this group make sleeping bags out of chip packets to help people sleeping rough

Artists across the globe are challenging the way we dispose of and create waste. Check out these artists for more inspiration;

Al Phemister (Australia)Freya Jobbins, (Australia), Bill Dorman (Australia) Tita Salina (Indonesia), Michelle Reader (UK)Yuken Teruya (Japan), Jane Perkins (UK), Pascale Martine Tavou (Cameroon).

This STA Kids activity is possible with the support of Wollondilly Council who are active in educating the community about waste.

Enter your artwork into the annual Waste to Art exhibition and competition hosted by Wollondilly council. Entry is free and there are great prizes.  Everyone living within the six STA contributing councils is eligible to enter. Watch this space or STA socials where we will announce when entries open. 

Huge thanks to Al for sharing this creativity with us and to Sara, Jack and Bepo for being such an amazing family.

Also thanks to Wee Jasper Public School for sharing their waste to art creations.

STA went to visit Gresham at the Bargo Waste Management Centre to find out what can be recycled and what happens to our waste when it is dropped off at the centre. 

About Al Phemister

Al Phemister delights in turning found objects into works of art. Al has been making and restoring furniture for almost twenty years with an eye for clean and simple design. It is these same elements that he has brought to his more recent passion of sculpture. A mixture of function and decorative aspects infused into a design that becomes part of a growing and changing environment where plants, dreams and love flourish.

Al’s art is been born of his love for his family and the environment that and he and wife Sara have laboured to create. Anyone who has seen their home will agree that their life and art are indistinguishable. Their partnership has defined their environment and the environment has helped to define the direction that Al now finds himself heading.

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0427 938 110 

Or by appointment at one of our Mobile Office locations

PO Box 1323 Goulburn 2580

ABN 67 208 214 681

We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the lands where we create, live & work. 

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