Sustainable business was on the tip of every entrepreneurs tongue as we saw a spike in thousands of companies and corporations taking the pledge for a sustainable future. With new thinking came new ideas that were developing into big voices in the reuse movement.
One of those voices in New South Wales, Australia is Reverse Garbage, Australia’s largest creative reuse centre. A non-for-profit organisation built on the vision of a handful of teachers looking to break through the industrial discards and encourage a greener way of operation.
The Marrickville treasure trove of assorted goods spans over a site that diverts around 40,000 cubic metres of resources otherwise doomed for landfill. A major addition to the community, Reverse Garbage has become a favourite resource among artists, designers, educators, students, builders and companies looking for more sustainable options.
Mark Bond, involved in Reverse Garbage explains why it’s important to opt for reuse over contributing to waste.
“First and foremost, reuse is prolonging the life of an item or object and preventing it from going to waste in our landfills and polluting the environment,”
“Reuse maximises the utility of items … making a significant difference as it does not require new resources to make a new version of a product.”
The reuse of objects also has its benefits for your wallet as Mark agrees is also a ‘cost effective’ way to give items a ‘new purpose’.
“A school teacher recently remarked … Reverse Garbage is the best place if you have no budget.”
Reverse Garbage and places of the like are not only ways to save but hold an incredible array of quirky objects. Mark tells of the colourful pieces to grace the warehouse such as elegant dresses made from curtains and recycle bags, a giant Styrofoam Tyrannosaurus Rex and King Kong, a coffin (we can only hope not previously used), original Florence Broadhurst Wallpaper and various props from films such as Wolverine and The Great Gatsby.
The sustainable thinking of Reverse Garbage has also developed a creative department within their organisation that offers consultancy and design services to business and organisations for the utilisation of reuse materials for corporate and community events, fit outs and furnishings.
Creative departments within places such as Reverse Garbage have inspired charismatic and story-telling pieces to be used not just within interior design but raw building materials. Australia has seen an influx of reuse and recycled décor within both commercial and private interior design.
Pioneers of the future
Australian interior and event styling student Anthea Joy is among the generation of designers with an environmental conscience. ‘Mustard Tree Designs’ is Anthea’s business and is a reflection of the current trends within Australia.
From the humble beginnings of sustainable design, Mustard Tree Designs is an example of how thought has evolved and is now reaching the generations. Anthea explains how she incorporates sustainability within her design palette.
“The sad thing is that so much of what is thrown away can be reused… I choose to rework objects as much as possible in my design in an effort to inspire others to do the same”
“There is something incredibly rewarding about taking a discarded object and making it something that can be cherished again.”
Anthea’s styling also reflects beyond an objects original use as she explains inspiration and her practise.
“I can find objects anywhere, op shops, garage sales, things left on the side of the street… I reuse a lot of bottles and jars… something as simple as repainting a corona bottle can create a whimsical little vase for freshly cut flowers”
“My biggest sources of inspiration are the internet and design magazines… I always deconstruct what someone else has done and reshape it to suit the context of my project… I’m like a plastic surgeon for furniture and décor!”
Mustard Tree Designs business ethics also reflect sustainability in the finer details. Anthea chose to go with a company that used recycled paper for her business cards to reduce the effects of deforestation.
“I might not get to see the forest I helped to plant in my lifetime but my children’s children will.”
The innovative thought that has come from sustainability’s vault reflects a society that is becoming accountable for not merely living but giving back. Years ago, ‘going green’ was an excuse for people to take fewer showers and grow out their hair. Which is a perfectly acceptable way of life in the scheme of things, but modern day sustainability and its students mean business and are challenging society to think outside the box.
- Emily Cassar -
My mother always had a saying when I was little, ‘Beauty is pain’, which never made sense to me when I was a child so I have no idea why it does now.
I will struggle into that dress that stopped fitting me a year ago, wear sky-high heels which leave me wobbling home at the end of the night and load my bag with ‘everything I need’, wondering all the while why my shoulder and back hurt at the end of the day.
I read an article in The Australian the other week, which showed that chiropractors deal with 2160 fashion related afflictions a year. Which made me ask why are we willing to sacrifice our health for fashion?
Thousands of women a day in our country stubble to work in heels, with bags full of who-knows-what. Lately I’ve even noticed those at uni rocking heels for a lecture. What’s with that ladies?
Of course, this make me feel a little better as it proves that I’m not the only one putting pain before comfort in the name of fashion. But you and me both know it shouldn’t be like that. So to those girls stumbling into uni on heels I ask you why? What do you get out of it at the end of the day besides sore feet?
But I’m not here to judge. Ill still strap on a pair of gorgeous heels anyday, however I’ve now acknowledged that I have to factor in how much work (and sitting) I will be doing that day.
Just so I don’t feel so bad though let me know yourself, how much pain will you endure for fashion?
- Coralee Kelly -
I’m quite sure this applies to all of us as uni students: losing motivation.
I sometimes find myself bored and just lacking focus when it comes to uni work. What to do, what to do?
Say, procrastination is at the top of the list when one finds no fun or push to complete uni work.
Here’s the list of things I do in the time between losing motivation and finding the need to get some uni work done:
• Eye on social media: I literally just sit there scrolling through Facebook and Twitter in the hope of finding something interesting, even course-related perhaps to read and reflect on.
• Google: Googling anything remotely related to your studies is a good start. I mean, you are doing some uni work. Who knows what you’ll find.
• Want to work your brain, but not academically?
• Do puzzles. I find myself doing the puzzles from the back of the newspaper just to pass time. It’s also a great way to work the brain, then I realise I should be really doing some research or readings.
• Get creative: as I write this as a matter of fact, I’m pushing back the moment that I will actually get to my unit readings. So while you’re lacking a push, start drawing, writing, playing music, do whatever it is you do! J
Please comment below on some tips you may have to get back into university work.
- Tina Huynh -
Music has to be the only thing that keeps me going when driving. And I’m sure that everyone can relate. It wakes you up in the morning, and keeps you alert throughout the day. Of course those three coffees, two energy drinks and the bunch of sugar you shoved down your throat today probably also helped. But does it affect the way you drive?
Driving home from uni last week, I noticed that hearing my favourite song on the radio produced a strange affect on me. This included: distracted with the radio controls, my foot ever so slightly pushing on the accelerator and my steering wheel becoming in sync with my wicked dance moves.
I’ve heard other stories as well, of friends getting speeding fines and blaming the loud dance music they were blasting. Or worse, having to explain to the parents about the ding in the car caused by absolutely having to turn the music up, or change the station depending on their preferences.
But is this avoidable for those our age? I would argue not. Well not in our generation anyway. We are basically saturated with music, and while we are stuck in that tin can all day it is our life! How can we possibly resist the chance to hear our favourite song one more time, change the cds to that amazing album you just bought (or downloaded) or change the station because they are playing that song again?
Perhaps some remedies to this problem would be having your favourite cd on, or more modernly putting your iPod onto your favourite playlist. This may help to resist the urge to change the station. Or else making the other people in the car your stereo bitches. I would use this with caution though; in my experience this has led to yelling and angry gestures.
It’s probably more accurate to say there is no fixing this problem, and just dealing with the accidents and tickets that happen along the way.
- Coralee Kelly
How to get one’s foot in the door? This metaphorical door would be the industry that you would work in upon completing university.
As I start my third and final year of study, I can’t help but ponder on the daunting process of finding paid work.
I do acknowledge that I am no career adviser, however, reflecting on the process that I have undertaken in the past few months seems like a good start. I would like to share my experiences and hopefully assist you in the process of searching for work experience, internships, jobs and other opportunities.
There are many platforms that are a great start. Countless students are unaware of the work of the UWS Careers and Cooperative Education office. Enrolled students have the chance to make an account on CareerHub, which allows you to search and apply for job opportunities, as well as information about your particular industry, tips on improving your resume, discussion forums and appointment spaces to see a careers adviser. CareerHub is a good starting point as it is something that only UWS students can access.
Being a student, experience is hard to come by, so the usual choice is to do unpaid work to gain some. SEEK has recently launched SEEK Volunteer. For those who want some experience, SEEK Volunteer is for you. You will find organisations that may need your skills and knowledge. There’s the opportunity to work in areas such as aged care, counselling, education and training, IT and web development, marketing, media and communications just to name a few. SEEK Volunteer also enables you to search for long or short term projects, as well as when to undertake them, like during the day, night or weekends.
Social media sites are another method of searching for opportunities. Facebook and Twitter sites of organisations that interest you may post up opportunities when they arise. So don’t forget to ‘Like’ and follow. Pedestrian.TV, a website on all things pop culture, has a fantastic jobs section. While it caters mostly to the creative industries, a casual browse won’t hurt. You may just find an enjoyable stint for the weekend or during the uni break.
Another thing I would like to bring up is subscription. It’s vital to subscribe to job sites like SEEK, CareerOne and Pedestrian.TV Jobs amongst other sites. Your subscription gives you access to new jobs once they arise, so they come to you instead of you finding them.
It’s essential to show potential employers the work that you have done. No matter what degree you are completing or the type of work you have done, it makes it easier for your potential employer to view your work.
Having worked with a marketing and communications manager for some work experience, the discussion of job seeking came up. I recall that the manager said it was important to show that you are passionate and show initiative, which sets you apart. Being a journalism student myself, the manager said it was great to see that I have established my own blog and really shown that I do want to become a writer. She said there have been cases where individuals say they want to do something or be someone, but there is a lack of evidence in their desire to.
Quite simply, it takes a lot to find that perfect job, or the opportunity to get some experience or do an internship. However, persistence is key, I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Perhaps my tips will help or perhaps they won’t, but it’s a start.
- Tina Huynh
Have I missed out on some key points? Maybe you’ve got a method for finding opportunities. Please comment below.