Trash the Runway

Recycled couture

by Dave Gibson

The city of Boulder, CO, has set an ambitious goal of recycling 85 % of its annual waste by the year 2025. Trash the Runway (formally called Recycled Runway), now in its 10th year, is part of the movement that raises awareness and promotes the reuse of items that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Turning trash into high fashion garments would seem an unlikely use of garbage, but that is exactly what forty-two middle and high school students did recently. Guided through the process by mentors at Common Threads Creative Lab, some of the kids spent months collecting their discarded materials. They had six weeks to design and manufacture their creations that were presented in a runway show at Boulder Theater March 12th, where the girls and boys appeared as their own models.

Tickets to the much anticipated gala sold out in a matter of hours. David Bowie’s “Fashion” got the packed house pumped for the start of the show. Straws, ping pong balls, CDs, dryer sheets, Dixie cups, bubble wrap, Styrofoam packing, produce netting, tea bag wrappers, movie tickets, oxygen tubes, carpet backing, Ziploc bags, landscaping packing materials, swim caps, bicycle inner tubes, lollipop sticks, and Mardi Gras beads were just some of the items repurposed in an innovative and stylish manner. Not only did the designers/ fabricators/ models jolt public perception of trash, they learned about thinking outside the box, problem solving, and team dynamics. The Earth is in good hands if they are any indicator of the future.

Trash the Runway Final Results

6th and 7th Grades:

Functionality – Clover Spielman (chip bags, crayons, produce wrappers, plastic packaging, paper insulation, wire coat hanger)

Innovation – Addison Engel (skateboard wheel shavings, plastic wraps, Wubble Bubble ball)

Design – Tamar Greenstreet (foil-lined bags, camera film, bubble wrap, balloons, shower curtain)

Construction – Skylar Armstrong (chip bags, hospital peel packs, dog food bags)

Audience Choice – Grace Abboud (carpet underlay, medical gloves, plastic tablecloth)

Runner Up – Rylan Neumann (snack bags, six-pack rings, packaging)

Grand Prize – Malia Chipouras (butter wrappers, gum wrappers)

8th to 10th Grades:

Functionality – Quinn Logan (chip bags, candy wrappers, misprinted cup holders, hula hoop, plastic mailers, soda can pop tops, Twister mat, rain poncho)

Innovation – Silas Ure (packing materials, Tyvek house wrap, painter’s tarp)

Design and Audience Choice – Sydney Canova (plastic streamers, banners)

Construction – Keara Friel (shower curtain liner, Mamma Chia pouches, Mylar balloons)

Runner Up – Olivia Beresford (Mylar coffee bags, emergency blanket)

Grand Prize – Ana Davis (air mattress, pool floatie)

All proceeds from the event were donated to Blue Sky Bridge which combats child abuse through intervention and education.

Dave Gibson has been a contributor at the Weekly RegisterCall for thirteen years. Past articles and pictures may be viewed at

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