Junk To Personal Art

Junk To Personal Art

By: Xeidler W. Trayling

March 18th, 2023

Reduce, re-use, recycle is a phrase ingrained into many individuals since childhood. But try as we might, it feels like it isn’t quite enough when it comes to combating pollution or reducing the amount of plastic accumulating in landfills across the country. What if there was a way to not only reduce the amount of plastic being thrown away, but also where you can enjoy a hobby that allows you to create something of your own. This is where kitbashing comes in. 

What is that?

Well, kitbashing is “a practice whereby a new scale model is created by taking pieces out of commercial kits. These pieces may be added to a custom project or to another kit. For professional model-makers, kit-bashing is popular to create concept models for detailing movie special effects” (bluecloud2k2 1). There are different forms of kitbashing such as scrap-building, scratch-building, and junk-building. 

With the subject of recycling, we’ll only focus on junk and scrap building since those two are the ones that focus the most on leftover plastic that normally would be put into recycling for it to be remade into another plastic byproduct. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case once you look into it.

Why is that?

According to research done by ‘Greenpeace,’ they found out that “While 52% of recycling facilities in the U.S. accept that kind of plastic [cups and containers], the report found less than 5% of it is actually repurposed — and the rest is put into a landfill” (Sullivan 3). 

Now the reason for this might be due to two things in my opinion, one being leftover food residue left on plastic containers like that for milk and the other might have to do with that not all of the plastic in a container can be recycled. Putting that thought  to the side, there is the more important fact of the matter when it comes down to how the state of Michigan is doing their part on recycling. 

As stated in an article done by the Detroit Free Press,  “Michigan’s statewide recycling rate is around 18%, with Wayne County at 25%. The national recycling rate is 32%” (Matheny 1). That alone is alarming when you also read that “Statewide, more than $435 million a year in recoverable materials are thrown away and buried in landfills, according to 2016 report by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)” (Matheny 1). 

With that alone, one has to wonder if we can do any better. I believe there is something that can get us at least one small step in the right direction; though it being one of possibly many directions. 

This is where we circle back to the idea of kitbashing; or the sub categories of it being scrap and junk building. Now scrap building is pretty simple, where it is simply just left over scrap that one can reuse for a future build. Junk building, while pretty self-explanatory, is where one keeps leftover containers and broken items and reuses them to build something. Typically, those items range from broken printers to yogurt containers and later those things get reused to build things like models, anime characters, dioramas, display cases, cosplay pieces, etc.

Studson Studio made a model of  a robotic elephant from Horizon Zero Dawn using an old plastic pretzel barrel as the base (Studson Studio, YouTube). 

Now, you might be wondering one of two things. Firstly you might think, “how much junk could a person who does that for a living have?” And to that I say, it can vary; oftentimes people who do junk building for a hobby have either one or two boxes full of leftover junk or a closet full of it. Secondly, you might be asking “will this be enough to reduce the amount of plastic waste we have?” Well, for that it seems to be unclear since no one has done any research into it or written anything with regards to it.Who knows, maybe we can all find out if we try while also making something that we want but can’t afford or can’t find anymore. I know I am.

Xeidler Trayling is currently a senior studying Technical Writing. He is interested in the Editing side of Technical writing, and hopes to use that for a career in that avenue so he can hope to focus on publishing his own fictional stories in the future. In his personal life, he is a gamer, kitbasher, sketcher, and avid reader.