July 29, 2020

Salvage Culture + Reverse Garbage + the Library of Stuff = Local, Ethical Circular Economy Gold

Our Plastic Free July event held last Saturday, REthink Fabric Waste, (6000kgs a minute goes to landfill of which 60% is plastic) demonstrated strong local interest in both learning how to Upcycle waste fabric as well as an appetite to buy locally hand made Upcycled products. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions we had to cancel the first event – Think Fabric Waste that had intended to include a clothes swap.

Mullum Cares founder, Sasha Mainsbridge spoke of the event

Organising this event has been an incredible discovery of the wealth of local talent in our region. Combine this wealth of Maker talent with our crazy waste volumes and we quickly devised and soft launched our latest project, Salvage Culture.

The Salvage Culture Project intends to inspire and enable our community to reconnect with behaviours including care, repair, restore & repurpose.  These are central concepts to Mullum Cares purpose to grow conservation as a priority of conscious consumers.   Unlike the mainstream fanfare around the transition to a Circular Economy that risks recycling being the preferred solution, we advocate both landfill and recycling as the least preferred options considering the emissions involved.  Caring better for our goods at home and looking for local repair and repurpose options not only avoids all the transport emissions involved the minute we give our waste over to industrial processes but grows the possibility of a thriving local circular economy where experienced and budding repairers and upcyclers have more certainty that their efforts will be reasonably rewarded.

Kaju Creative donated their time to create this visual record of the event

Patterns for items that were demonstrated at the REthink Fabric Waste event

stick spinning

drawsting bag

snake draught stopper

DIY menstrual pad

DIY yarn

denim draught stopper

japanese bento bag

no sew t-shirt bag

We dream of starting a Reverse Garbage enterprise that begins slowly by collecting waste materials that we have upcyclers standing by to utilise.  Space is so limited and the volumes of waste so vast this undertaking will start small, very small and grow organically as we create demand for locally made upcycled products.

We can’t accept donations yet but the interest and local talent has become clearly focused on textiles.  When space allows we will put a call out and seed our RG with fabric products and accessories.

Our Library of Stuff is building its assets to support the delivery of workshops and potentially offer access to sewing equipment at not for profit rates.  Make & Mend Workshops and Care & Repair Working Bees will be offered once Covid restrictions to entry have passed.

We’re starting with textiles because they are so abundant, easy to sanitise and the tools required to work with it are pretty basic. The vision though, is to cast the net wide to find interest and teachers who can upskill our community to care or repair or make or mend practically anything that will avoid waste being created and sent to recycling or landfill.

Australian Fashion Icon, Jenny Bannister, is seen here demonstrating a simple loom knitting technique to our team.  Unfortunatley Jenny wasn’t able to make it to our REthink Fabric Waste event but we hope to see her again soon.

If you’re an experienced Maker or Repairer of any materials and you’d like register your interest to support our project please complete this Registration of Interest form.  Feel free to get in touch with Sasha if you have any questions by email – or phone 0422 641 474.