Recycled: Thursday’s Special


© irene waters 2016

The decorations made out of plastic milk bottles and are beautiful but Paula’s prompt Recycled could not have come at a more topical time for Australia. Our waste collection is under threat of stopping altogether as it has become unprofitable for the waste companies to collect the refuse. After thirty years of separating our waste into recycle, green and general a decision by China to stop buying our recycling waste has thrown the industry into a sudden downward spiral.


© irene waters 2016

Australia produces around 2.7 tonnes of waste per person per year and 60% of that is recyclable. Waste companies have been stockpiling this waste hoping for a solution that will see them paid prices that will make it profitable to collect from the kerbside. Heavens forbid that we lose our garbage collection. I can see the piles mounting in my mind. Perhaps we have to be pleased that artists sometimes use recycled material.


© irene waters 2018

Such as this door to a wood workers facility.


© irene waters 2017


© irene waters 2016

and dresses made from plastic bags (soon to be banned altogether in Queensland).


© irene waters 2016


© irene waters 2016


© irene waters 2016


© irene waters 2016


© irene waters 2016

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© irene waters 2018

This sculpture was made from bike frames, fans, exhaust pipes, fire braziers and push bike – a friendly critter formed.

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© irene waters 2018

My favourite used only newspaper. Each day for a year after reading the newspaper, the artist reflected on the stories and chose problems. He would then do a sculpture with the remainder of the newspaper then glue the story on the outside of this. After one year he looked at these problems and spent a year coming up with a solution to each of them which he sculpted out of paper and inscribed a phrase on each one. I wonder how he would have solved our problem of waste.


© irene waters 2018

An aboriginal artist Gunybi Gananbarr used an old conveyor belt to affix sand and natural pigments from his land to emphasise clan designs which are full of metaphors and layers of meaning.


© irene waters 2018

Sometimes recycling is not art but the only way you can get a pair of sturdy shoes, using old tyres.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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8 Responses to Recycled: Thursday’s Special

  1. macmsue says:

    What amazing objects creative people devise. Just wonderful. I’m hoping entrepreneurs will quickly establish recycling plants here in Australia, I’m already able to buy garden stakes made from recycled plastic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Charli Mills says:

    Companies in the US are making patios and decks out of pressed plastic “lumber” and it’s attractive and durable. As for the garbage companies, in Hancock, we have to purchase our city garbage bags for collection (in addition to paying for the curbside service). We sort recyclables, return glass bottles for a deposit and compost. I like the artistic solutions to recycling, but hope you don’t lose garbage collection because there will yet be garbage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a feeling that it may be a service that the government is going to have to take over running and then as taxpayers we will pay. Although in the news it has been suggested that due to the costs the men will find it is not profitable enough to continue but I just can’t see it being allowed to happen. We have the plastic lumber but I believe all our recycled plastic comes from China and they have closed down those factories. It will be interesting to see if we take it on ourselves because as you say – there will yet be garbage.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Paula says:

    Can we learn to live producing less waste? I love the plastic wedding dress LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

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