I made a trip to Reverse Garbage yesterday. It's a wonderful community resource which accepts industrial discards and sells them very cheaply to the public for creative use.
It's all about sustainability, creativity and recycling what would otherwise go to landfill.
There are two sections to the big warehouse, the bag section and an indivually priced section. You can stuff a cloth shopping bag for $5 and the bag itself is free.
I'm not especially crafty, but even I was tempted to go nuts and fill up my bag with all sorts of goodies - scraps of fabric, cardboard cones, gilt-edged plastic cylinders, spools of ribbon and cotton, cleaning wipes, posters, silver card, folders, empty CD cases, Christmas tinsel and novelty toys, and wood off-cuts.
My favourite things on offer in the individually priced section were lovely antique glass bottles for $2 each, and beautiful leadlight glass windows that had been rescued from demolition sites.
In the end I picked out a couple of folders, some CD cases and the little cones (I thought the girls might make doll's party hats out of them), and some other odds and ends and it all came to $3.
The place was buzzing. There were lots of people choosing all sorts of miscellaneous things from the large bins and there was a terrific creative vibe to the place.
As I lined up to make my purchase I overhead the volunteer salesperson say that someone had bought the "all the plastic bums" to go into an art installation. The mind boggles!
I visited the small art gallery and shop, MAD (Making A Difference), which is on the same site, and I almost bought a silver, classic-looking clutch purse fashioned from recycled drink boxes. But my sensible self reminded me of all the bags and purses I have already!
Everything on display at MAD has been created by artists and at least 75% made of materials from the Reverse Garbage co-op. The current exhibition is of modern artworks by an indigenous artist, priced from $100 to around $1000. I'd love to have any one of them on my wall.
All in all, it's well worth a visit, and if you're not in Sydney look out for similar initiatives in your area.