Rethinking sustainability to turn trash to treasure

Out of the box ideas should pave the way for the repurposing, transforming and rethinking of how we deal with waste, according to a sustainable design consultant.

And turning a curious mind to the problem of recycling fine particles of plastic could reduce plastic pollution in the land and waters, said Kirsty Mate, founder of ReTh!nk.

“Plastic,” she told the Launceston Freelance Festival, “is a material you can do a lot of things with.”

Ms Mate, who has been an artist for 30 years and a pioneer in revaluing waste, has been experimenting with plastics and knitting them into different objects.

“If we start to rethink what waste is, if we take that noun from the dictionary and start to think about the things we can do to use it as a resource, then we can really start to rethink how we use waste,” she said.

“All plastic will break down over time,”

Discussing the various kinds of plastics and how some break down faster than the rest, she said plant-based biodegradable materials, unlike petroleum based plastics, will eventually revert to their molecular form.

She demonstrated, using slip and bubble stitch, how to knit products out of reusable Woolworths and Coles plastic bags.

New ideas in waste revaluation

Linda Erceg of Seed and Spawn uses plastic fibres such as fishing line, mesh nets and garden trellis to knot them into unique structures.

Fishing lines, nets and plastic water bottles are transformed into alluring drop chandeliers.

Stuart Haygarth, a graphic designer in London, also created a chandelier called Drop out of 1800 recycled plastic bottles.

The gleaming sculpture is a manifestation of grand transformation from overlooked ordinary waste to a gleaming ball of incandescence.