NEW PALESTINE — With scissors in hand, Allie Todd and fellow Earth Club member Chase Colclazier carefully cut out individual sections of egg cartons, making dozens of small cups

Once the New Palestine High School juniors trimmed away the extra styrofoam, they passed the cups to fellow students Taylor Roberts, a junior, and Emma Biddle, a sophomore, who painted the cups black and white to resemble penguins.

It was proof that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, which is the basis of the New Palestine High School Earth Club’s Trash-to-Treasure event: Members are making Christmas gifts out of items most people would normally throw away.

They made flower pots out of aluminum soup cans, bird feeders out of plastic bottles and ornaments out of egg cartons.

The gifts will be distributed by Old Bethel United Methodist Church in Indianapolis to be given to families as gifts.

The Trash to Treasure event had a dual purpose, students said.

Members of the Earth Club created a bulletin board to teach their fellow students the importance of recycling and repurposing and the value of working and giving within the community.

“We hope that the children receiving these gifts will be inspired to take care of the Earth, just like we are,” Earth Club president Lindsey Berebitsky said.

Berebitsky re-purposes on her own at home, turning old cans into flower pots; she said she thought such a project would be ideal for the Earth Club as part of the recent event.

Chemistry teacher Amy Roan, Earth Club sponsor, said she was thrilled to work with the students who are learning about responsibility, the environment and what they, as individuals and a group, can do to make their surroundings a little more environmentally friendly.

“That’s our goal,” Roan said. “It’s fantastic to work with kids who want to make a difference.”

The students came up with the idea to take items most people would toss away — an old can or plastic bottle — and turn them into things people can use.

It’s been great watching the students take an interest not only in their world but the entire world, Roan said.

Students collected recyclable items from the school cafeteria, and members of the Earth Club made sure collected items were clean and brought in supplies for the repurposing project.

Senior Ginger Spoon, Earth Club treasurer, also was packaging bird seed into plastic bags to give to children who will receive the plastic bottles so they can take care of birds this winter.

Members of the Earth Club said the project was enlightening. Several said without the club, they wouldn’t have thought about repurposing a piece of trash.

“Something like this was never in my mind before,” Todd said. “It’s good stuff to know and will come in handy down the road.”

Author photo
Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or