Art-Cycling in the City: Engaging Youth in Eco-Art for Sustainability

Art-Cycling in the City: Engaging Youth in Eco-Art for Sustainability


Waste problems in the city have a good chance of being entirely eradicated if the youth are involved and engaged in eco-art mostly using recycled materials. This will present a win-win scenario as a solution to the city’s waste problem will be found, and unemployment in the youth will decline as the youth are engaged in self-employment art projects. However, this initiative will not only be beneficial to the city but also the environment of the state as over polluted rivers will be cleaned. This will provide a lasting solution to the problem as once the youth take up the art, garbage and waste will have found a deserving place in its recreation to art.


Proper waste disposal and over pollution are not new concepts as they are some of the biggest problems facing contemporary society. The topic has continuously found itself being debated over in the annual United Nations assembly. World governments consistently spend millions every year in a bid for eco-friendly recycling programs as many often lead to the emission of carbon (Garcia & Robertson 2017). A lot of funds are spending every day by the United Nations Environmental Program which has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya to create a lasting solution to the waste problem which is facing the modern world. Plastic waste is one of the main issues facing society today with a lot of packaging materials from water to food being done in plastic containers (Pivnenko 2016). This is why there is so much plastic waste in the city as the average human being comes in contact with plastic at least once a day. However, not everybody disposes of plastic in the recycling bin, in fact, many do not use the recycle bin entirely, and this is why millions of plastic containers are poorly disposed all over the world. Chemical products are the reason for waste products as they do not organically rot and tend to have a very long lifetime causing a lot of harm to unsuspecting victims.

Here in Canada, a lot is not being done to educated school kids and the youth on how they can help tackle this common problem. Most people do not take pollution seriously, and this is a pity as it is a problem especially in the cities here in Canada. The curriculum is to blame for not educating school children on the environmental threat of waste problems (Kumar & Holuszko & Espinosa 2017). Most of these young children grow to become youth who cannot do anything to better their surrounding and their cities much like those who came before them, and this is why they should be taught better. A cleaner city is the responsibility of the youth as they are the strength and pride of society and they have the creativity and wit to tackle such issues (Polprasert & Koottatep 2017). Besides, a clean city is the joy and pride of all its residents from the leaders down to the street people as no one likes to be associated with untidiness and waste. A solution to the problem presents itself in art as revolutionary artists all over the world have pioneered ingenious artistic methods of recycling waste and converting it to instrumental art. It is awe-inspiring that something as meaningless as a trash can be transformed into the beautiful art that many would desire to install into their households.

This artists have impressed many and have provided a lasting solution to a problem that has been affecting cities here in Canada for decades. Most of the youth in Canada have been termed as having a varying degree of artistic creativity in them whether their interests lie in something as simple as making a sketch or as complicated as architecture. However, not many have adopted this ingenious technique of incorporating waste and garbage to their art pieces, and this is mainly due to the lack of information on the practice (Singh 2017). Many will be willing to give it a try if they knew about it, but such a technique has not yet qbeen embraced by the contemporary art scene and still lingers in the shadows. Lack of information is the danger here. It would, however, be advantageous if the youth in Canada’s cities practiced their arts and crafts with waste products and garbage. Many shy from the idea as they do not wish to sift through piles of waste, but they fail to remember that they are the right course of the garbage and it is within their power to recycle waste and turn it into something beautiful for the benefit of the entire city. This artistic process should be viewed in the same context as the transformation made by a caterpillar into a butterfly. Waste has the same capability and despite the fact it is looked down upon only means that it has a lot of untapped potentials is a ready resource for artists who are not scared to get their hands a little bit dirty.

Many youths despite chanting the reuse, reduce and recycle slogan can be seen in the open streets of Toronto walking around with plastic or foam coffee cups and enjoying sandwiches wrapped in polythene bags. This should be considered as the hypocrisy of the highest level as the youth of Canada should practice what they preach (Polprasert & Koottatep 2017). Recycling is not as elaborate as people assume it to be, depending on the material; the entire process can be done in the yard or the garage. Large firms here in Canada have already started recycling large amounts of waste and are making huge profits from this craft. Such advantages stand to be made by the youth who are always pointing fingers to the employment rate. In this day and time, it is very much possible for the child to employ themselves and make a decent living from recycling waste as once it is refined into art, there is absolutely no way of telling that it was previously waste (Singh 2017). Art is growing in demand by the day here in Canada with many decorating their homesteads with contemporary art pieces and if the youth tag into this market by supplying recycled artwork, they stand to make a lot of profit as they do not have to purchase the raw material required. However, not many youths are part of this hypocrisy as Eco-schools all over our beautiful country much like those in the United States have continuously encouraged school attendees to pay more attention to the waste problem and recycle their waste.

To start an effective art-cycling program here in Canada sufficient funding from the government or non-profit organization is required. This method has proved successful in the American State of San Francisco which introduced an Artist in Residence recycling program over two decades ago. The program named Recology AIR has served the purpose it was created for continuously creating awareness on the dangers of waste in the city. In a bid to carry out its set goals, the program has created a socially responsible art program that accepts any willing participants. Such a method is welcomed here in Canada as it has already proved useful in tackling the problem in a city as large as San Francisco. The youth here in Toronto and the entire population at large will benefit significantly from such a program as it is the lack of know how that has contributed to the continuous environmental problem that is affecting us in more ways than one (Jambeck & Geyer 2015). The program has in San Francisco recruited an estimated ninety-five practicing artists and also a large number of students who occasionally go through piles of waste and find the materials required for the artwork they desire to make. Once they have made sufficient art pieces, they put together an art show and use this platform to sell their art to members of the society. However, what stands out in the program is the consistent workshops these artists put together to train members of the community on how they can better tackle their waste problems by recycling it to art pieces. Many who have learned from these workshops have termed the experience as life-changing and have found a new passion going as far as calling waste recycling a modern and relaxing hobby. This clearly shows that changes can be made in our society if the initiative to start such a program is implemented in the cities we have here in Canada.

Such a program may as well as offer the blueprint necessary in combatting waste problems in all major cities over the world. The youth are well armed for the task at hand as they have more time on their hands and as a result, can take up this environment saving hobby. The modern day society or the concrete jungle as some would call it has detached many from their roots and many tend to neglect the instructions biblically given to man from God commanding us to take care of our environment. Being a country that upholds religious values, then taking care of the cities environments should be a priority. It is however disappointing that the government is doing not much even though the World Bank has issued a warning that waste problems are expected to double in the coming decade (Jambeck & Geyer 2015). This should be an excellent incentive for the youth to pick up the art-cycling program as the future of our nation belongs to them, and they should strive to make the future a cleaner place. In doing so, a lot of health issues usually associated with hygiene will be avoided by cutting the amount of taxpayer money that goes to health programs. The entire economy will significantly benefit from such a program as a potential new industry will provide many youths with much-needed jobs. The current economic patterns are also to blame with industrialization playing a significant part; however, no effort is being put in place in providing sustainable, eco-friendly packaging.

The government is to blame for turning a blind eye to the waste problems in the city. Not enough is being done to recycle waste, and this is quite astonishing as it would be easier for a factory to recycle previously used material than to manufacture new ones. Policies and laws have to be put in place by the government as they will significantly contribute to cubing this menace. However, the only lasting solution in sight is an imitation of the program in San Francisco involving the youth in art-cycling (Pivnenko 2016). If the government decides to back the project, the possibilities are limitless. The waste problem can be quickly addressed in such a scenario as a nationwide campaign is required to realize the effectiveness of art-cycling fully. Besides, a recent survey shows that the youth are willing to play a role in bettering the environment and the only factor lacking is the technical know-how. This indicates that implementation of art-cycling stands to be readily accepted especially by the youth whom it targets. If such a program had been implemented decades ago like in San Francisco, then the waste problem would not have been a significant challenge as it currently is (Jambeck & Geyer 2015). Time is a factor that many do not consider in this equation, and the longer the implementation of art-cycling takes the more waste we are faced with daily.

An art-cycling program stands to make significant changes in the city. Students and schools will come together and together with the youth through art make our environment a better place. This will also create much-needed awareness as many tend to ignore the waste problem. Art created from garbage or waste will indeed raise a moral question in society as many depict debris as being wholly worthless and only fit for the furnace which in itself is also a hazardous method of waste disposal causing significant problems to the ozone layer (Pivnenko 2016). Society does not wish to always face ever-growing mountains of waste, and they would, by all means, pick art made from recycled waste over garbage itself. This shows that although many are aware of the problem, very few are willing to make a change and offer a lasting solution and it is this reluctance from the public that needs to be eradicated as we all have a responsibility to straighten our mistakes (Garcia & Robertson 2017). Art-cycling is not a farfetched idea as it has already been implemented in major cities such as San Francisco. Its advantages and disadvantages if any have all been analyzed and a consensus would prove that many find this method beneficial and efficient. For a cleaner city here at home and abroad, art-cycling is the way to go as it is a fun and engaging approach that unifies different people from society to clean their city and make contemporary artwork. Canada’s cities undoubtedly stand to gain a lot from the implementation of such a program, and some would argue that it is long overdue.