I hate when teachers assign these types of projects. We have always tried our best to reduce clutter and limit unneccessary spending. As a result, we never have items like old magazines and catalogs lying around. Last year, one of the kids had to do something with shoe boxes. We throw away our boxes as soon as we get the shoes home. I don't want to hang on to egg cartons and milk jugs and such on the off chance that a teacher is going to come up with a project requiring these materials.
(For the record, I feel the same way about projects that require the computer or the internet. Even though I have broadband access, a printer, a scanner, and four working computers in this house at any one time, I know that most of the families around us don't. Our local libraries provide internet access to the public, but the operating hours are limited due to budget cuts. I always wonder what those other kids have to do when these projects come up.)
What's even worse is that when the kids bring this stuff home, parents have to find a home for it. At least a collage is flat and can be displayed on the fridge for a few months until the kid isn't attached to it any more. I know the teachers are trying to find a way to make learning more exciting for the kids, but school projects make me wish I was homeschooling again. At least when I was teaching M, I didn't have these surprises.