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Create Art, Waste Less, and Save Money with the Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center

Posted By Salt Lake County ZAP
February 20, 2020

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by Lin-hsiu Huang, Clever Octopus Program Coordinator

“Clever Octopus is the first and only Creative Reuse Center in the state of Utah." When I say this about Clever Octopus, many will respond with “well, what is Creative Reuse?” In the 3R’s we all know (reduce, reuse, recycle), we talk about recycle- or lack of. And we are also familiar with reduce - use less stuff means less stuff goes to the landfill. But, what about the one that’s in the middle - reuse?

Instead of reduce, reuse, recycle, let's focus on reduce, and break it down to 4R’s:
Reimagine, rethink, recreate, reevaluate.


  • Reimagine the Future, where art truly is for everyone.
  • Rethink Waste, as viable materials.
  • ReCreate Art, to alleviate poverty.
  • Reevaluate your impact, against climate change and environmental racism.

This is creative reuse.

Creative Reuse, to me, is the process of transforming waste materials or unwanted products into new, exciting, useful, or artistic products. It requires innovative thinking, problem solving, and product testing to make use of reclaimed materials. Creative Reuse fills in the gap with a driving goal of maximum impact on people and minimum impact on the environment. Creative reuse keeps materials inside the loop and invites everyone to work together in harmony to celebrate off-cuts, oddities, found objects, and the magic and mystery that arrive via chance.

Clever Octopus was based in Murray since our inception April of 2017; however, recently, we moved into a larger space in South Salt Lake, and we soft opened beginning of 2020! The new Clever Octopus' campus features large classrooms, community gathering spaces, combined retail/warehouse, a big parking lot, and more, which will allow us to divert more waste, provide additional creative reuse educational opportunities for youth and adults, and lengthen our community reach. 

Salt Lake City is a fast-growing community with a very young population - opportunity and need for reshaping how we think about waste is critical. With harmful environmental effects of inversion clearly seen for Salt Lake Valley residents each day, we need to invest in solutions for all of us. Creative reuse is one of the solutions. Come join Clever Octopus this new year to create art, waste less, and save money!

Clever Octopus is supported in part by Salt Lake County residents through the ZAP program. For more information about their work and campus, visit