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Old tyres become dog beds and rocking horses. Discarded fridges become craft cupboards. Old inner tubes become mats, jewelry and bags. Old microwaves become home delivery depots. Welcome to the world of upcycling. Using objects in new ways. For the first time this June, for inner city residents, our inorganic waste collection requires you to book in a pick up. Auckland Council will arrange to visit your property to pick up the items that you want to discard.

Auckland Council brought in this change for many reasons ­ one of them was to stop so many very useful items going to landfill. The roadside collection saw many items smashed for small amounts of scrap metal, cords cut for wires and a good item destroyed.

Community groups are now able to pick up items from the Resource Recovery Centre in Penrose. Charities are running innovative projects from the discarded items. In Mangere, bikes are repaired, kids are then taught to maintain their bike and then the bike is gifted to the new cyclist. What were unwanted items are finding a new homes as people’s pre­loved items are getting a second life through the charity groups.

Many items are freely gifted by the charities to people in need. Grey Lynn 2030, our local community group, who has created a number of Grey Lynn community and environmental and community projects (Car Boot Market, Business Association and Farmers Market) has received a Waste Minimisation Grant for a new community project called RePurpose. With RePurpose, Grey Lynn 2030’s intention is to create an Auckland place that celebrates and promotes Upcycling. Grey Lynn 2030 intends to encourage Reuse as well as Recycling. RePurpose.co.nz will celebrate upcycling ­ the ideas and craftspeople who take objects and give them another purpose. RePurpose will promote upcycling with a website, events and courses. An upcycling pop­up store and Upcycled Art exhibition is planned.

In conjunction with Grey Lynn Business Association (GLBA), RePurpose is working with business and households to upcycle items that would normally go out in theinorganic collection. Fridges, tyres, barbeques, fabric, banners, furniture, wood pallets, can all be upcycled in ways that are beautiful and useful.

The first Repurpose event is Trash to Trade. A new community competition that will encourage anybody to give upcycling a try. GLBA will be locating local business with a waste product they would like to see upcycled. Then crafty, creative and practical locals (like you) will be partnered with a business to Upcycle from the waste stream.

For example, local business Network Visuals has banners and flags to be upcycled. RePurposer, Suzanne Kendrick has turned these into fun and funky upcycled bunting which will be hung at the Grey Lynn 2030 Car Boot Market and school and community events.

Trash to Trade has a criteria that the new upcycled products can be sold. GLBA want to see people develop a new product that others are happy to buy. Repurpose is about from Discarded to Desirable. Establishing both price and demand for the upcycled product is a measure of success. GLBA hope to see people creating new businesses or social enterprises with their upcycled products.

www.palletkingdom.co.nz is already doing just this. Using at risk youth to create furniture from pallets. The Trash to Trade competition will be launching in July. Details are currently being finalised.

If you are interested in being involved, either as a creator/maker or a business with some waste product you would like to see upcycled please do contact the team at greylynn2030@gmail.com or info@GLBA.co.nz

Auckland Council inorganic collection

This article first appeared in Ponsonby News 

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