Repurposing trophies 

Some DIY ideas for upcycling or recycling your old awards

EDITOR'S NOTE: All of Ask Renee's columns are moving to NUVO! Here's one from August of 2015.

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Hi Renee,

I’ve recently uncovered some old ribbons and trophies from my childhood. I’m trying to find creative ways of repurposing them without tossing them in the trash.

Any ideas? :)



Hi Melanie,

Sounds like you’re an overachiever, so here are some DIY ideas for upcycling or recycling your old awards.

My favorite upcycling project that I found is to make a trophy coat rack. Doesn’t look like a ton of work and what a conversation piece it will be!

Here’s a fun and easy craft project that is best done while enjoying a glass of your favorite local wine: trophy bottle stoppers. Might even make a cute gift idea for mom and dad who supported you through all of those 4-H projects and soccer games.

My grandpa made a lamp base out of an old wood bowling trophy. I still use it now and love having a memory of my grandpa and my family’s roots in upcycling.

It’s likely that the top of your trophies are plastic and the bottom are either wood, marble or some other materials. If you disassemble the top from the bottom, RecycleForce ( will take the plastic tops and you can dispose of the base in the trash.

I imagine there are children’s groups and clubs that could use old ribbons and trophies, but I really don’t know who they are (I called a couple, but they weren’t interested). So, if you know of a nonprofit or club that might be interested, post it in the comments or email me. Otherwise, I found two awards companies that will take them, but you’ll need to mail them or drop them off the next time you’re in Wisconsin or Pennsylvania — Total Awards and Lamb Awards.

Congratulations on being a champion recycler!

Piece out,


(NOTE: This article appeared in the Jan. 13, 2016 issue of NUVO.)

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Renee Sweany

Renee Sweany

Renee has spent the past several years surrounding herself with like-minded people who share her passion for caring for the planet. She began writing “Ask Renee” after four years of offering green tips through her e-newsletter Green Piece Indy. E-mail her your green living queries at

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