Craft for the Coast: Trash Art Contest | July 16-31

Craft for the Coast strives to bring awareness to marine debris issues and give litter a new life! By doing beach cleans and making upcycled art we can prevent trash from going into our oceans and landfills. To take it a step further, we embrace the idea that art is activism and has the power to influence policy and change the way we deal with marine debris as a community.

Craft for the Coast encourages us to recognize the possibility in what we may have once considered “waste.” Trash can become something beautiful, useful, innovative, and even powerful. We hope to transform our community mindset to see value where we couldn’t see it before, and know our actions create ripples. Viewing or creating a moving piece of artwork made from trash has the potential to create change within your home, community, or even the world!

Art Submissions 

Calling all trash crafters and upcycling artists! Create a piece of trash art and enter to win prizes! Art submissions due Friday, July 16.

>> Art Submission Form <<

In addition to filling out the form, please email a high quality photo of your art piece to This photo will be posted on our social media and website for the People’s Choice Award voting.

Prize Categories

  • People’s Choice Award (Receives the most community votes)
    • $100 Restaurant 511 gift card + free admission to NEC 50th Anniversary Event
  • Best Upcycled Creation (Submission predominantly made from reused items)
    • NEC gift basket: zero waste kit, stickers, poster + solutions gift card
  • Best Litter Creation (Submission predominantly made from litter and/or marine debris)
    • NEC Cleanup Kit: bucket, picker, gloves, stickers, poster
  • Youth Award (Submission created by artist 12 years and under)
    • Environmental Education Gift Basket: stickers, educational coloring book, nature posters

Trash Supplies

Do you need trash supplies for your art piece? The NEC will have a limited supply of beach trash available to participants at the NEC office (415 I Street, Arcata, CA). To inquire about supplies please email

If you have useable beach trash you have collected, please consider donating it to the NEC. (Washed and sanitized trash only). Email to coordinate a drop off.

Outdoor Art Show
Join us on Saturday, July 24 from 10AM – 1PM at the Arcata Farmer’s Market to view the artwork! If you want to show your support for the art you can visit this page and cast your vote for the People’s Choice Award.

>> People’s Choice Award <<
Vote for your favorite trash art  | July 19 – 31
1 vote = $1
All proceeds benefit the NEC’s marine debris and litter reduction programs.

How To Vote: 

  • Click on the trash art of your choice below (photos coming soon). This will take you to a new page where you can adjust the quantity of your votes and then “Add to Cart”.
  • Feel free to vote as many times as you would like and for as many art submissions as you would like.
  • Once you have finished adding everything to your cart, click “View Cart” and then fill out the form to pay for your votes.

>> Educational Resources <<

Trash Art Inspiration:
Marine Debris Impacts:
Plastic Pollution:

>> Guest Judges <<

We are so thankful to our guest judges for assisting NEC staff with deciding the winners of the Best Upcycled Creation, Best Litter Creation, and Youth Award.

  • Seaside Weavers:
    Locally made in Humboldt with re-purposed crab pot rope. Each durable handwoven “MerMat” is bursting with a unique personality. “I find it very satisfying to take something that has already had such an important job and extend its usefulness by reincarnating it into a durable “forever” piece of everyday, practical art. I am committed to supporting our local economy and protecting the environment while inspiring creativity with our little family run business. Each mat uses between 150 and 200 feet of rope.” – David Cooper, Seaside Weavers
  • Plastic Uniquely Recycled is a unique business that collects used plastic form various locations in Humboldt and processes it, turning it into wearable art. Jenifer Sherman-Ruppe is passionate about finding ways to reawaken the conversation of how to transform waste into a valuable resource.