Australia produces a staggering 67 million tonnes of waste per year, much of which is not, or cannot be recycled. Remember the 3 R’s of recycling? Well now there are 5— Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. The Department of Environment and Energy is focused on getting us to move away from a “throw away society” to one that adopts a sustainable ethos by thinking about a products life cycle and how it will be disposed of once it is no longer needed. To get this message out there, the Assessments and Waste Branch decided to make the Recycling Innovation Wall to showcase some of Australia’s most innovative recycled and repurposed products.
This is where we come in! They asked us to build a movable educational display from recycled timber offcuts, that could be housed in the foyer of the John Gordon building and be moved regularly to other sites such as the Antarctic Division and the Australian National Botanic Gardens. What a great brief! We built two metal frames on some sturdy castor wheels, and collected offcuts from the workshop to construct two walls (that can be used together or separately) with shelves in a variety of our recycled Australian Hardwoods. The different sizes and shapes of timber has resulted in an eclectic wall with plenty of textures and colours.
As much as we loved building the walls, we are equally excited to see whats going on it! All of the products have been specifically selected to illustrate how valuable waste can be and that ‘waste’ is a resource in this country. The Department approached a number of companies around Australia that are innovators in the recycling industry, and the resulting selection will be a cross section of materials and technologies.
Some of these companies include Green Distillation Technologies who turn used tyres into steel, oil and carbon. Another innovator, Plastic Forests from Albury donated mini wheel stops each containing 155 recycled bags, as well as repurposed garden edging. This company also uses contaminated plastics, that no-one else wanted, dry cleans it and turns it back into plastic pellets for reuse. We are proud to say that our Fire briquettes are also going to be joining the wall and it looks like they will be in good company!