Updated: Feb 4, 2020
Making reuse a first choice doesn’t mean you are ‘making do’, it means you are making a difference. I firmly believe in re-using resources to create new items or to give items a new purpose.
As an artist I am very aware of the impact that creating my artworks has on the environment. I steer away from any single use plastic cups when mixing my paints or resins preferring to use silicon mixing cups and stirrers. I try to avoid having excess paint or resin but when I do, I store acrylic paints in small tightly sealed cosmetic jars to avoid them drying out and then use this in future projects. Leftover resin however cannot be saved for future use - so I have at the ready molds to pour excess resin into. My favorite is a geometric heart trinket box mold and when full, cured and un-molded can yield a gorgeous layered creation. The same goes for a pyramid mold – although I find this shape less useful other than decoration or a paperweight.
Today I want to talk about a local community organization that I frequent to buy art supplies and materials, including boards and canvasses for my creations. Reverse Garbage – this is a community co-operative managed by a volunteer Board of directors and operated by a small group of dedicated staff and volunteers who help to run this amazing place.
Reverse Garbage is a community organisation in the Inner West of Sydney, Australia. It was established in 1974 by a group of teachers determined to help the environment by diverting industrial discards from landfill and by reusing materials in their classrooms. Now 46 years later, Reverse Garbage is now an internationally recognized, award-winning environmental co-operative committed to promoting sustainability.
At Reverse Garbage the general public and educational professionals find the materials, skills and inspiration they need to live more creatively, more meaningfully and in a more sustainable manner.
Each year Reverse Garbage collects tonnes of resources including reusable off-cuts, over-runs, art & craft materials, stage props, furniture and other items from hundreds of supporting commercial and industrial businesses, as well as through the generosity of the community.
Resources are sorted at the Reverse Garbage site and there is a dedicated Reverse Garbage store that the community is given the opportunity to purchase items for creative use. Reverse garbage is also a hub of educational and community activities and workshops.
Reuse makes sense as it: prolongs the life of a resource; saves the energy and materials needed to produce brand new materials; prevents otherwise useful resources going to waste/landfill; creates less air and water pollution than if it were recycled; and reduces money spent on new items and costs to dispose. I encourage every artist to consider re-use and recycling as an alternative to buying new.