Wonderful Waste

Our Wonderful Waste Event Screening

The ethos behind creating a series like Wonderful Waste was always to inspire. To make people think more critically about the materials that enter and make up their homes, to realise their responsibility for those materials once they’re no longer useful, and to create discussion around the parts we can play in creating more sustainable ways of living.

When exploring this, we found six designers and inventors from around the world pushing the boundaries of sustainable design. To celebrate each of their innovative journeys and give them even more of a platform, we held a preview of two of our upcoming episodes for fellow architects, designers, developers, and anyone that was simply interested.

Rob ‘Robbie’ Neville was the star of the first episode and the gracious host, allowing us to set up our screening in his rustic Collingwood warehouse filled with timber; a fitting setting for a conversation about sustainability. As part of his Zero Footprint Repurposing mission, Robbie is determined to salvage and repurpose existing raw materials into new designs. The Urban Tree Recovery initiative (a direct challenge to the City of Melbourne around mulching and destroying trees) is just one way he is making waves with Revival Projects, his multidisciplinary practice that showcases resourceful approaches to construction.

These resources are finite, and they have so much potential. And at the moment we handle them with pure indulgence as though they’re endless, whether its nature’s capital like trees or whether its materials in the built form.

Robbie Neville

An internationally recognised leading voice in the field of recycling science, Professor Veena Sahajwalla is best known for her ‘green steel’, one of the ways that she’s transforming extremely challenging waste streams back into raw materials for manufacturing. In UNSW’s SMaRT Centre, Veena and her team champion new techniques to revolutionise Australian recycling systems and implement innovations like micro-factories localising the repurposing of building waste.

Compared to some of the people I’ve met across the world, I think one thing we as Australians bring along is that we care for the planet, we care for people, we want to do the right thing and we want to, of course, champion all the incredible things that are happening.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla

We were fortunate enough to have both these innovators present for our screening, so to continue the discourse around sustainability in design, a panel discussion was set up alongside NTS creator and director of Wonderful Waste, Colin Chee. Questions flowed around custodianship and responsibility about decision-making, forthcoming projects and new initiatives, and our fervent hopes and dreams when creating a series like Wonderful Waste.

My mom used to say, if you hear the same song over and over again, you automatically remember the lyrics. And then you’ll probably understand the deeper meaning. That’s what we want to do with Wonderful Waste.

Colin Chee

Throughout the event, Luke Phillips and his Into Carry team generously supplied food for our event from his café Into Coffee. A wonderful zero-waste café, the space also doubles as a workshop for a range of sustainable initiatives, including social impact business networking events along with design and upcycling classes.

It takes a village to make an impact, be it by bringing together other like-minded people in the Australian design community or by being conscious about the sustainability factor of our decisions. Our hope is that Wonderful Waste inspired you as much as it did us.

Our sincere thanks to Screen Australia for funding Wonderful Waste, IntoCarry/Into Coffee for the wonderful food, Stomping Ground for the beer, Robbie Neville for hosting, Veena and her colleagues for flying down from Sydney, and everyone else who came and supported us.

Images by NeverTooSmall