It has been a busy few months of salvage and reuse and as we head into winter it is time for some all important reflection and to share some reuse experiences and ideas.
This summer I was part of a campaign to reuse the materials from broken and discarded bodyboards and I was lucky enough to be featured on ITV News Westcountry sharing my creations made from the colourful bodyboard skins.
Every year, hundreds of duff boards are left on beaches in the South West. These boards are a single use plastic product, not built to last, destined for landfill and sadly all too often become marine litter, detrimental to eco systems.
Beach Care South West have worked tirelessly to combat this issue and alongside my material reuse, they have found solutions to reuse the whole board, including the polystyrene inner which is being used in beehives You can read more here: Cornwall Live.
The most important thing I want to share from this experience is that reuse brings hope. It offers a proactive quality to tackling waste and is something everyone can do to combat an environmental issue. There are endless possibilities that come with reuse and you will produce an ethical item to admire with sustainable satisfaction. You can share it with others to inspire more reuse or just kick back and feel proud that you've saved something from landfill. How can we help the environment and live in a more sustainable World? Get Creative!
I recently came across a load of misprinted vinyl that was heading to landfill. The culture of seeing a broken or useless item and just mindlessly chucking it in the bin is definitely taking a new direction and it is really positive. Changing the ideology of waste and seeing it as a new possibility is front line in engaging people in positive environmental actions and I believe creativity is key.
I found my vinyl haul on Gumtree as someone had put it on there with the mindset that they didn't want it rotting in landfill and hoped someone would want it for artistic purposes. They put a timescale on the add so everyone knew how long they had to get to it and they had so much interest they split the stash and made some creative folks very happy. They have also kept my number for the future.
My message from this eco endeavour is that waste is inevitable but its what we do next that is important and listing unwanted materials on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, for example, is an awesome starting place to create a chain reaction. The actions here have created a new cycle whereby the Gumtree user is proactive in saving waste from landfill and the Artist can reuse and recreate the waste and share the results. These small scale actions really add up and there are a lot of keen artists out there who love rubbish!
- Beer Bottle Tops
- Plastic Lids
- Sweet Wrappers
- Clothing that is no good for charity
It is a fabulous time of year to change our actions and start new trends as we head into a new season. Also, with Christmas approaching it is important to remind ourselves that 'Sustainability is for life and especially at Christmas!' It is one of the least sustainable times of the year where consumerism is rife and the waste streams will be bursting. Make a pledge to have a more positive environmental impact this year, save money and avoid the madness but keep the magic alive!
Here are a few sustainable Christmas ideas:
☆ Buy from eco conscious sellers, ethical brands and charity shops. Know that what you are spending is going to a good cause that cares about your hard earned coins and beyond.
☆ Make cards yourself or send emails and attach a photo or two.
☆ Make gifts such as jams, chocolate truffles or even flapjacks and gift them in a reusable vessel (I love pots and tins!!)
☆ Give the gift of experience, not everything has to be tangible and I'm sure many of us have enough 'things.' Buy someone a short course, plan a trip or even just give a card with an IOU, such as 'IOU Dinner!'
☆ Wrap everything in either newspapers or brown paper.
☆ Seal gifts with a water based glue or even better use something reusable such as string or a shoe lace to tie a gift up.
☆ Always choose lights and candles over glitter and sparkles when decorating your house.
☆ Pop any unwanted decorations on Gumtree in November and December, or other websites as mentioned above.
☆ Reuse as much as you can after the big day then recycle the rest and don't forget to check your festive local refuse collection times as they may change.
☆ Come together and share in your communities.