Every year, each Australian consumes 130kg of plastic products of which less than 10% is recycled – the rest of it inevitably ends up rotting in landfills, sloughing off to form the 130 thousand tonnes of non-recyclable debris that chokes our waterways and wildlife. Plastic has become as ubiquitous and necessary to civilisation as water and air, from shampoo bottles to shopping bags, but once it has served its specific purpose, we instinctively toss it out and buy a replacement. However, the purpose of a piece of plastic is not restricted to the label that retailers put on it – in fact, by its very nature, plastic can be easily moulded and shaped to whatever purpose we choose to give it. By giving our plastic a second life, we can spare the lives of so many dying aquatic habitats, and make the world truly greener.
In primary school, when I turned a used water bottle into a pencil holder, I was amazed that an object destined for the junkyard was now sitting on my desk looking as good as new. Not only was it an environmentally sound alternative, but it also saved me a few bucks and was fun to make, so much so that I started working on things with my friends to build everything from piggy banks to furniture. Ever since then, I’ve always wanted to take the idea further, to encourage the community to recycle their plastics internally within their own homes for either functional or aesthetic purposes, but it wasn’t until I landed on this page that I thought this could make a difference. My pledge is to start a campaign in my university for students to design either the most artistic or practical repurposing of a household plastic item they can imagine - the possibilities are truly endless!
Not only would this allow students to apply their creativity in new and interesting ways, but it would also bring people together and unite them towards the shared goal of a sustainable future. It’s a tough project, but I’m certain that if more people learn to exploit the reusability of plastics, we will come closer to a world free of unnecessarily wasted plastic, and find nifty new uses for plastic items along the way!