Fun with Waste: Trashion Fashion

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Created in 2011, Trashionfashion is a not-for-profit organization that is on a mission to contribute to a global reduction of waste through creative solutions. The organization hopes to foster a generation of conscious consumers, creators and communities who will change the way the world sees waste. The organization achieves this through productions, education, and community engagements.

Designer – Kingsley Chukwuocha⠀
Model – Melissa Amanda Walker⠀
Photographer – Justin O’Brien⠀

Ami Merli, adancer and yoga instructor, founded the organization in 2011. Through Trashion Fashion, Amy has created a network of zero waste designers, sustainable fashion companies, and businesses that are using alternative materials for products.

The organization’s Facebook page provides photos and videos of past trashion fashion shows.

Fun with Waste: Tire Sculptures

Artist Nkwocha Ernest is an artist that specializes in sculptures from used tires. He lives in Lagos Nigeria and is a graduate from Auchi Polytechnic.

His artwork, which is driven by a desire to clean up Lagos, is gaining popularity in Nigeria. He started by creating small parts with the tire material and wanted to show Nigeria that he could create something out of nothing, and he was posting on his personal facebook page what he was doing. 

Fun with Waste: Trash Sport

Combining fitness with waste collection is growing in popularity around the globe. In Japan, a sport called supo-gomi taikai involves teams competing to see who can collect as much litter as possible. The inventor of the sport, Kenichi Mamitsuka, would often pick up litter and, in order to make the activity more fun, tried to collect as much trash as possible without extending his exercise time.  He thought making it a sport would make it more enjoyable and set up an organization for the sport.

A typical game could involve any number of participants that meet at a public place. Teams of three to five persons are made and everyone starts at the same location. At the signal, participants race around a pre-set area and pick up trash as quickly as possible in the allotted time. Points are awarded on not just the weight of trash but other qualities. For example cigarette butts have a high point value.

Around 70 participants ranging in age from 6 to 78 were divided into teams of between three and five persons. Everyone started at the same point in a public park, and when signaled to begin they started collecting trash within a 1-kilometer radius of that point. When a player found a piece of trash they called out their discovery, which was not limited by size. In fact, smaller items are often valued more because points are rewarded not just for the weight of the garbage collected, but the type as well, the idea being that certain items, such as cigarette butts, have a higher priority. So just because a team ends up with the most volume of trash at the end of the allotted time, it doesn’t mean they will win.

Kenichi Mamitsuka’s sports organization has, to date, overseen 639 events nationwide and abroad comprising about 76,000 participants.

Fun with Waste: A boat made from plastic waste


The FlipFlopi Project is an ambitious initiative with an aim to inspire positive change to support the global movement against plastic pollution.

In June 2016 the founders of the FlipFlopi Project decided to try and build a boat entirely from plastic collected on beaches and roadsides in Kenya to show the potential of ‘already-used’ plastic. And two years later, using over ten tonnes of plastic waste and 30,000 re-purposed flip flops – they succeeded. 

The world’s first recycled boat gets its name, Flipiflopi, from the 30,000 recycled flip-flops used to make its rainbow-colored hull. The FlipFlopi Project was co-founded by Kenyan tour operator Ben Morrison, and the 9 meters long multi-masted boat was built by master craftsmen Ali Skanda, and a team of volunteers using more than 10,000 tones of recycled plastic. The boat has already sailed 500 km from Lamu to Zanzibar earlier this year and it is continuing to tour around the world.

The goal of the project and is to convince people that single use plastic does not make sense and that it can be given a valuable second life. The boat is currently embarking on a number of expeditions around the Indian Ocean.

B.C. Municipality rewards community groups for waste reduction initiatives

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The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), located on the southern mainland coast, across Georgia Strait from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, has been holding a competition since 2015 as a means of encouraging waste reduction.

The annual contest is open to Sunshine Coast based community groups and associations, non-profit societies, registered charitable organizations, and school groups that will reduce waste in the region.

The program has a total of $5,000 available for financial assistance on winning projects.

Project applications must include a plan for measuring and reporting the amount of waste diverted from the landfill. The Waste Reduction Initiatives Program was introduced to support the initiatives of the SCRD’s Solid Waste Management Plan.

Project categories considered for the Waste Reduction Initiatives Program (WRIP) include:

  • Community reuse and repair
  • Composting
  • Construction and demolition waste reduction, reuse and recycling
  • Food waste reduction
  • Green waste reduction
  • Recycling initiatives

In 2018, Serendipity Child Care received funding under the contest. The funding received through WRIP was used by the organization educating children and families on composting and waste reduction.

In 2017, six organizations received funding for projects as part of the Waste Reduction Initiatives Program (WRIP).

  • North Thormanby Community Association – Implementation of a community composting program
  • Roberts Creek Community School – A community composter project in partnership with local businesses.
  • St. Bartholomew’s Anglican Church – An on-site composting program for the food bank and nearby organizations.
  • Sunshine Coast Repair Café – Launch of monthly repair cafés to Sechelt and Pender Harbour (currently monthly in Gibsons)
  • West Sechelt Elementary – Launch of a school composting program
  • West Howe Sound Community Association – Expansion of the association’s mobile community composting initiative.
Representatives from Organizations that received funding as part of the SCRD’s WRIP in 2017 (Photo Credit: SCRD)

Applications for WRIP opened on Monday April 15, 2019 and all applications must be received by midnight on Friday, May 24, 2019. Successful applicants will be announced in June. Projects must be completed, including a final report, by December 31, 2019.

Fun with Waste: Feasting on Food Waste

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According to a report prepared by Second Harvest, approximately 60% of food waste is wasted. On an annual basis, this adds up to 35.5 million tonnes. Of that total the Second Harvest report estimates that 32% is edible food that could be redirected to support people in Canadian communities. The total financial value of this potentially rescuable lost and wasted food is a staggering $49.46 billion.

To raise awareness of the amount of food wasted in Canada that is actually edible, the Culinary Historians of Canada recently hosted an event at the George Brown College Hospitality and Tourism Campus called Food Waste – Past and Present in which patrons were able to Feast on Food Waste. Tickets for the event was $15.

Besides feasting of food waste, patrons learned about the history of food waste in Canada from Magdaline Dontsos, former faculty of the Food and Nutrition program at Centennial College as well as a member of the Ontario Society of Nutrition Management and the Canadian Society of Nutrition Management. Part of the discussion included an examination of the modern-day adjustments that could be made to make food production more sustainable.

The Culinary Historians of Canada (CHC) is an organization that researches, interprets, preserves and celebrates Canada’s culinary heritage, which has been shaped by the food traditions of the First Nations peoples and generations of immigrants from all parts of the world. Through programmes, events and publications, CHC educates its members and the public about the foods and beverages of Canada’s past. 

Fun with Waste: Cartons to Carpets

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Serge Attukwei Clottey is the founder of Ghana’s GoLokal performance collective. His work explores the cross-cutting themes of environmental protection and social justice. His concept of “Afrogallonism is a celebration of the yellow gallon containers, initially used as cooking oil canisters and then recycled to collect water or fuel.

Found throughout Ghana and known locally as jerrycans, the plastic containers have become synonymous with serious water shortages in Accra, and block waterways when they are discarded. Their prevalence in rural and urban communities caught Attukwei Clottey’s attention. He began imagining them as objects of art, and then came up with the concept of creating plastic carpets from them.

Garrette ClarkUN Environment’s Sustainable Lifestyles Programme Officer in the Consumption and Production Unit, said: “Sustainability is here to stay. We hear about climate change, waste and pollution every day. And, we increasingly hear how people are living in new ways that are good for people and planet. Serge Attukei Clottey is one of these new voices highlighting our plastic waste issue through his art.”

Attukwei Clottey’s idea is to tackle plastic pollution, and create a growing artistic movement to raise awareness and #SolveDifferent. We asked him what inspired him to come up with his Afrogallonism concept, and his message for young people.

What is Afrogallonism, and how did you come up with the concept?

I want to find ways to inspire people to work with plastics, and recycling it in creative ways. Afrogallonism is a word I made up after working with discarded jerrycans for fifteen years, as this type of plastic takes a long time to decay. Over time, the gallon containers have become like my second skin, and I realized that the top of the container looks like a mask. We have traditional masks, but these are like masks of our time. Afrogallonism is the new Africa—the future of Africa, bringing to the forefront issues of water scarcity and the importance of protecting our environment.

What challenges did you face along the way, and how did you overcome them?

I wanted to think of a practical approach to the critical issue of plastic waste management that brings value to the country. It’s not just about collecting plastics, but sending a powerful message back to manufacturers: waste is becoming a problem every single day. As an artist, I want to explore and create a dialogue around the plastic issue, involving corporate or government officials who can support our work so that the benefits remain in Ghana. I face many challenges—including lack of space and even lack of African representation on a global stage. Some galleries are not interested in displaying African Art. My art is now getting international recognition because black people across the world can relate to the narratives I explore. One of the biggest challenges has been getting my community to understand the importance of my work, but this is changing in Ghana.

The carpets claim space and raise awareness of plastic waste. Photo by Serge Attukei Clottey / Afrogallonism.

Can you give us some background on the scope of your work?

I currently have about 15 young men and women working directly with me, and dozens of others who collect plastic waste materials for the project, and they are paid adequately for the work done. I can’t tell if this project is going to be the solution to plastic waste—but at least we are taking that step to act. We collect the plastic containers along coastal beaches, as well as at dump sites. You see them ending up on the streets and in the ocean. For me, the materials play a very significant role in my work and I take care in repurposing the plastic.

What are alternatives to the use of jerrycans that could help us #SolveDifferent?

Let’s focus on the product, and raise awareness among companies making plastic cartons and containers. We need to know where these plastics are coming from and for me, taking the issue up with companies producing plastic products is key. Manufacturers must have a bigger interest in where their products end up.

At the United Nations Environment Assembly, UN Environment is urging people to Think Beyond and Live Within. Join the debate on social media using #SolveDifferent to share your stories and see what others are doing towards a sustainable future for our planet.

Ski Slope on the roof the Copenhagen’s New WTE Facility

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The City of Copenhagen’s new waste-to-energy facility has quickly become a popular destination with the city’s residents as it has a 600 metre ski slope on its roof.

The idea of topping a municipal plant with an urban ski resort won a string of accolades for the Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG). The park itself was designed by SLA Architects. Two years ago the architectural model went on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In an interview with the Guardian, city resident Ole Fredslund said, “I live so close by that I could follow the development. I guess 90% of the focus is on the fact that there’s a skiing hill coming, so in a way it’s very clever. Everybody talks about the ski hill to be, not the waste plant to be.”

Photograph: Mads Claus Rasmussen/EPA

The entire WTE facility cost $840 million Canadian to construct. The facility sits on top of a plant that has been producing heating for homes since 1970. Work began on the facility in 2013.

Eventually, the entire ski run will be divided into three slopes with a green sliding synthetic surface, plus a recreational hiking area and an 80 meter (264 foot) climbing wall. Once the whole project is completed, the roof will contain ski slopes, green spaces and hiking trails. The slopes will have ski lifts to take people up to the top of the runs.

The innovative waste-to-energy plant can burn 31 tonnes of waste per hour while cutting emissions by 99.5%, which makes it capable of converting 360,000 tonnes of waste every year. Its total net energy efficiency of 107% is among the highest in the world for a waste-to-energy facility

The plant currently processes waste from 550,000 residents and 45,000 businesses and produces electricity and heating to approximately 150,000 households.

Babcock & Wilcox Vølund designed and built the facility. It is owned and operated by Amager Ressourcecenter (ARC), a corporation jointly owned by five Copenhagen-area municipalities.

Image courtesy of SLA Architects

Wearable Waste: Fine Fashion and Recycling


Liz Hughes, an Australian artisan has created upscale fashion using recycled materials.  Her Wicked Witch of Waste formal wear dress is made of feed bags and bailing twine.  In an interview with an Australian newspaper, the Dungog Chronicle, she admits that her dress may not meet everyone’s taste but hopes that it will get people thinking of reusing materials.

“A dress made of feed bags and bailing twine may not be the epitome of wearable art but if it helps to get people thinking about reusing materials and products my work will have been a success,” she said.

Liz has long been an advocate of natural fibres for wearable  art works and more conventional clothing and household furnishings.

“Natural fibres are not just beautiful but highly functional, especially in the extremes of climate we are experiencing more often these days,” she said.

According to Liz the big challenge ahead is to develop wearable clothing from recycled or repurposed sources.

“That knowledge and experience needs to be focused on developing innovative ways to repurpose waste into functional and sustainable products.

“This is just as much an artform as any work displayed in a gallery.  It is what the art of sustainability is all about,” she said.

Ms. Hughes is not the only person who has put together a high fashion dress from waste.  Fans of Project Runway (Bravo TV) may recall the Waste Not, Want Not Challenge where fashion designers had to find their dress material at a Transfer Station and Material Recover Facility (MRF) in New Jersey.  The fashion designers were given 30 minutes to source materials for their designs. Contestants sorted through paper, plastic and metal to collect the materials need to create a “wearable outfit.”

The winning designer of the challenge used a vinyl-coated burlap peanut sack to make a svelte skirt and gold mylar to craft a pretty lame’ top. Another designer recycled fashion back a few decades with a frightening gown spangled with bits of litter glued all over it.  Still another designer created an eye-catching dress of newspapers faced with muslin and painted bright green, yellow and teal.

Fun with Waste: Making a Statement on Pollution through Art

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As reported in Around DB, two artists living near Hong Kong, Liina Klauss and Agnes Pang, specialize in turning recyclable waste into pieces of art in order to motivate others in the community to up their game when it comes to trash creation and disposal.

Agnes Pang’s art pieces are very simple – she deliberately keeps her works small for easy display and transportation. She uses unwanted items, for example foam netting, bricks, shells and toilet paper rolls, to create beautiful pieces of art which demonstrate to the public that the “rebirth of garbage” can bring joy and happiness.

“Art is like magic which can transform simple objects and ideas into delightful pieces. I feel like a magician when I turn things that people often neglect into something surprisingly beautiful,” Agnes says.


Agnes Pang with one of her works of art made from trash

Liina Klauss, a German art-activist who splits her time between Tong Fuk (near Hong Kong) and Bali, specializes in art installations made from the man-made and natural waste she finds on beaches and in country parks. Influenced by Berlin street-art and environmentalism, her installations not only challenge our perception of art but also our behaviour as consumers and responsibility for nature.

“When first coming across a non-gazetted beach in Hong Kong, I was shocked,” Liina opens. “These beaches looked like (and are still looking like) a dump. The sheer amount of rubbish made me feel totally helpless. Why wasn’t this in the news, in the papers, why did everybody look away? From there I had a choice to stay inactive and get depressed or use my own two hands, my voice and my creativity to do something about it.”

“I made the ugly look beautiful, I turned rubbish into rainbows and people started looking,” Liina says. “This was the start of my environmental art.