Mission & History

SCRAP’s mission is to stimulate creativity and environmental awareness in children and adults through promoting the creative reuse of materials that traditionally have been discarded as waste.


  • Maximize the diversion of reusable discarded materials from the solid waste stream.
  • Collect and redistribute these materials to underfunded educational programs and organizations, teachers, artists, parents, and students in the community.
  • Educate and benefit the community in the art of creative reuse.

Our Focus:

  1. Education: We help teachers and students by providing free and very low-cost supplies.
  2. The Environment: By diverting more than 200 tons of materials from landfills annually, we help reduce pollution form many sources.
  3. The Arts: In times of rising prices, we help artists get the supplies they need at very low cost.
  4. Workforce Development: We create good jobs in one of San Francisco’s least affluent neighborhoods. We also provide vocational training to developmentally-challenged youth through SFUSD’s Workability program.


SCRAP is the nation’s oldest creative reuse center, and has been diverting waste from landfills for use as art supplies. Founded in 1976, SCRAP was created to provide art supplies to art teachers in the San Francisco Public School system. Since then, hundreds of creative reuse centers around the world have modeled their activities on SCRAP.

In the 1970s, the Neighborhood Arts Program of the San Francisco Arts Commission received a grant from the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act to place professional artists inside schools. Our founder, Anne Marie Theilen, was in charge of this program and oversaw a group of over 140 teaching artists. Unfortunately, there was no materials stipend attached to the grant so the artists struggled to find supplies for the classroom.

Meanwhile, businesses in the area were discarding items that are perfectly usable for artwork such as paper with the wrong logo on it, fabric samples from interior designers, industrial discards, and other materials. Anne Marie realized there was an opportunity to solve both problems with one solution and formed SCRAP.

Four decades later, SCRAP diverts more than 250 tons of reusable art supplies from the waste stream annually. These materials end up in the hands of tens of thousands of artists, educators, students, and nonprofits throughout San Francisco and the Bay Area. Our creative reuse programming has grown to include workshops, Teachers’ Give-Aways, field trips, art tables at community events, and creative reuse art exhibitions. All of our activities serve to educate, reuse materials, and inspire creativity.

SCRAP is grateful for major support from San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, San Francisco Unified School District, Altamont EAB, Vital Projects Fund, and many individual and business donors.


Scrap is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Our TIN is 94-2566798. Your donations of materials or money to SCRAP are probably tax deductible.