Artistic Recycling Bins

Caitlin Zeller and Raphael Fratkin

We are planning to continue working on the Artistic Recycling Bins Project that has been started by students in the past.  The plan is to take the work that they have done so far and move the process forward, hopefully to the point of building full-scale models.  We are planning to stick to the designs for the shapes of the bins that they have already come up with: two triangular, paper and bottles/cans that sit together forming a square.


Initial Questions regarding the project:

List of supplies, can we get money to fund it?

Where can we build the forms? Is there room in the Science Center to make them?

How long do they take to dry/harden? Can it be done in the basement? And how much room do they take up while drying, do they need ventilation?

Need to figure out a way to attach them together because each side is built separately, this should also be sustainable also?

How many should we make? How many are in the Science Center now, how many should we aim on replacing?

Questions we had for Kristina:

We are planning on meeting with Kristina and talking over the project and the process for making the molds sometime in the next week to figure out some of the questions we have including:

How long to dry?

Does it shrink?

Specific plaster type?

Ratio for mixing the paper plaster and water?


Blenders -5 $12 at Walmart

Plywood-4ft X 8ft, 3/4 thick- $15 each Lowes

Plaster- $2 100 lb bag (2-3) more for more recycling bins

Paper- hopefully get it free from the schools recycling

Total: $84….but we would need to buy more plaster to make more bins

Game Plan:

Before spring break: Do a test of the plaster and paper mixture to see how long it takes to dry and how much shrinkage there is involved in the process.

First 2 weeks back from spring break (March 18-31): Buy the plywood and get it cut with the help of Jon Quick and Kristina Bogdanov and assemble the molds so that we are ready start. We will also need to buy the blenders, get a store of paper and make sure we have enough plaster.

In the following 2 weeks (April 1-15): we will mix up the concoction and create the panels for the sides and at least top for the recycling bin (we are still undecided if we will use a paper based substance or some other material for the bottom).

After it is fully dried: We will work to connect the sides together and create the first model of these artistic recycling bins.  At this point we will access the project for any flaws and if time permits fix them and create another more improved model.

Goal for the semester: Create a working full sized model of these paper and plaster based recycling bins that will function properly.  If at all possible make 2 so that they can work as a set, one for paper and one for bottles and cans, to show how they are supposed to relate to each other.


  • Cahillane, Jamie and Susan Slattery. Beautiful Bins: Using art to encourage community recycling. CET: Center for Ecological Technology. August 2007. <>.
  • Jon Quick, Sculpture professor- For cutting the plywood molds we will need to use the woodshop in Haycock Hall the 3D fine arts building. Jon has offer to help with this, especially with cutting the edges of the sides of the molds at acute angles as opposed to right angles.
  • Kristina Bogdanov, Ceramics Professor- She has been the most involved professor with this project in the past and has offered to help/teach us how to mix the plaster and walk us through the process the first time.  She has also mentioned that the Ceramic studio might have some extra plaster that we could use at least for the initial phases of the process.
  • Lauren Leister and Sarah Johnson.  A.R.T. Art Recycling Today. Project write-up for 2011 fall semester.
  • “More Art, Less Trash” artistic recycling bins to be installed on campus. IU News Room. 1 April 2008. <>.
  • Trashed: Art of Recycling. Global Inheritance: A 5013C Nonprofit Organization. <>.

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