The life changing joy of cycling-up

Everything that comes in and out of the Fair Food warehouse goes past Robyn Lasker’s desk.

Robyn is the logistical  link between Fair Food and the world – she supervises a team of drivers, she sets their routes, she loads their vans and she works out the delivery windows to let us all know when our groceries will arrive.

From her desk, Robyn, sees it all and one thing Robyn particularly sees, is our waste.

She see what goes into the rubbish skip, she sees our  green waste, she sees the the cubic metres of cardboard and polystyrene we receive and the metres and metres of plastic pallet wrap that holds it altogether in transport.

Robyn Lasker has made it her mission to put as little of this into our landfill as is humanly possible.

Some of the packaging that arrives at Fair Food is reuseable; market gardener, Joe Sgro, sends his produce in large wooden bins, Marg and Jason Alexandra send their apples in black plastic crates, Schulz and Demeter Dairies send everything in milk crates.

But much of what comes through our door is not returnable.

And so Robyn has organised our green waste, about a cubic metre a week, to be collected by a group of community gardeners for their compost piles.

Most of our cardboard goes into regular recycling but recently Robyn found a company who wanted our used banana cartons, which we had loads of.  Now we send them out regular pallet loads.

Our polystyrene broccoli boxes are washed and used as eskies, the open produce polys are returned to farmers while the busted & dirty ones are sent to a recycling centre (Robyn would really love to see this more creatively reused – anyone).

Our soft plastic pallet wrap and bags go to a regular recycler but recently Robyn found Cesar, who is doing much more exciting things with it.

Cesar Marulanda, a self-taught artist and Industrial Designer, has been making wearable art and accessories out of plastic bag waste for the last six years (that’s one if his bags in the pic above).

Cesar began making wallets and pouches out of waste plastics to sell at markets, but it’s turned into a whole Studio of plastic upcycling activity he’s called Aoracreo.

To understand the molecularly varied plastic waste pallete he was working with Cesar went to industrial design school where he’s been perfecting his plastic upcycling processes.

Refined to only a clothes iron and grease-proof paper, Cesar fuses layers of carefully selected plastics into a usable material that has all the qualities of polyester, nylon or polypropylene, using a fraction of the energy and resources.

These days as well as creating upcycled wearable art, Cesar is teaching his plastic upcycling skills in schools and workshops (including at CERES)

You can read more at Cesar’s Aoracreo’s website or pick up one of Cesar’s bags at the CERES main site or The Rose St. Artists’ Market.

Have a great week

Chris

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