The first-place winning entry in last year's contest was a bird cage made from an old armoire. 

DENVER – Habitat for Humanity is known for its home-building efforts to assist those who need help when purchasing their first home, but the nonprofit is also environmentally conscious, and its Lincoln County chapter is holding its second annual recycled art contest to celebrate Earth Day.

“What we hope to accomplish through this contest is to encourage people to recycle and upcycle,” Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County Director of ReStores Donna Latham said. “We hope to give the community some type of understanding or a vision as to how you can repurpose common objects into other useful items around the house. Mostly we just want to create more awareness to the importance of recycling with Earth Day coming up. We want to be as green as we possibly can, and we encourage people to donate stuff they don’t use instead of throwing it in the dumpster. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?”

Last year’s inaugural contest was well received with an impressive turnout considering the lack of history. Entries included pallet wood transformed into decorative objects, corks that were made into reindeer, a chair that was converted into a planter, Mason jars that were repurposed as flower pots and terrariums crafted from a number of objects.

“Not only does Habitat help in the community by building homes, but our ReStores accept donated items that likely would have ended up in a landfill otherwise,” Latham said. “We all have to share this planet and it’s important to be more conservative and green in terms of our habits. Instead of throwing things away, we encourage people to keep upcycling in mind and drop off used items with us. Just because something can no longer be used for its intended purpose, that doesn’t mean it can’t be transformed into a usable object.”

The winner of last year’s contest, Suzanne Suman, purchased an old armoire through the local ReStore and repurposed it into a bird cage.

“I love buying things from the ReStore and re-creating them into something else,” Suman said. “I saw an old cabinet up there that had pickets on it, and I thought that would make a great cage for my birds. I actually bought it back from them after I donated it for the contest because I put a lot of love into it with my birds in mind. I really enjoy doing things like this and I was excited to be the first winner.”

In her spare time, Suman has converted end tables into dog beds and made planters out of old wooden chairs.

“A lot of the older furniture is made better, and it’s a shame to throw things like that away because they do have a lot of use left in them,” Suman said. “The armoire I repurposed last year had come to the end of its useful life in that capacity, and a lot of things like that end up in the garbage just because they’re a little outdated, but you can put a coat of paint on there and turn it into something brand new. My little birds absolutely love that cage.”

Habitat will continue accepting entries for this year’s contest through Friday, April 19. Participants are asked to email “before and after” pictures of their work to dlatham@habitatlcnc.org.

Contestants must include a description of their project along with their name, phone number, the materials used, the title of the project and its estimated value. Staff from the Lincolnton and Denver ReStores will vote on the entries and the winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to the Lincoln County ReStores.


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