Tag Archives: recycling

Upcycling and street style

4 Mar Commonwealth Games upcycled bags photoshoot

My final 24 hours in Delhi proved quite busy. We were lucky to have a travelling American artist/photographer, Joey Edwards, join us for our last street shoot.

Joey had volunteered with Conserve India a few years ago and was dropping in to the office to say hi. We, of course, jumped at the chance to have an extra photographer for our planned photoshoot at Delhi’s Connaught Place shopping centre.

And here are the citizens of Delhi who graciously stopped to model our bags. Amazingly, these lovely ladies knew about the project because they’d read about it in the papersCommonwealth Games upcycled bags photoshoot

…and we thought our next model, Sujay, looked far more stylish than the United Colours of Bennetton mannequins we snapped him in front of (especially their hair arrangements…or lack thereof).

Commonwealth Games upcycled bags photoshoot 2

Commonwealth Games upcycled bags photoshoot 3

…We loved how Sumit’s dark clothing highlighted the bright colours of our Games messenger bag…

Commonwealth Games upcycled bags photoshoot 4

…and, finally, the very obliging Anyad and Mrinali, lending us their unique looks for this photo…

Commonwealth Games upcycled bags photoshoot 5

What was great about the shoot was that people got the idea quickly; they understood what we were trying to do.

We were overjoyed with their show of support (and the photos – thanks Joey and Jenna!)…

…like Shammi Kapoor (the ‘Elvis of Bollywood’) on seeing his true love…

…or Rahat Fateh Ali Khan mid-flight in song…

…Gold!


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Insane in the membrane…

24 Feb

Ok, so we’re heading into the home stretch with this project blog (just over a week to go until my final deadline: Sunday March 6). I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted about the Games PVC banner material.

So what happened to all those banners – all 25 tonnes of them?

Commonwealth Games banners scrap

Commonwealth Games banners stored at the warehouse

We made a heap of products and sold them for stash of cash, right?

Not quite.

I was trialling one of the sample PVC bags, taking it to all my meetings, usually stuffed full of things like a Macbook laptop and a waterbottle (no point mucking around when it comes to R&D).

using the Games messenger bags

On the way to a 'very important' meeting at the 2010 Commonwealth Games

A few weeks of this and I began noticing cracks in the folds – the PVC banners from the Games media event just weren’t durable enough for a bag in constant use. But what about the official Games wall wrap banners? Could we still use them?

Checking out the banner material with Conserve India's sampling unit

Checking out the wall wrap banner material with Conserve India's sampling unit

Sadly, it turned out they were made of a similar form of PVC.

It’s called blackout flex – basically polyester thread spray painted with a thin PVC resin coating. Great for cheap, temporary advertising applications, but not so good for a high-end, durable fashion accessory.

It felt like we’d hit a dead end with our Games upcycling experiment. We made one last visit to the warehouse, thinking we’d collect a couple of the wall wraps for future experiments with the material.

But when we arrived we noticed these…

Commonwealth Games athlete flags

Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games street flags

Sponsor flags

Air India and Tissot Games sponsor flags - major brands being trashed...literally

trashed brands

Hero Honda and Central Bank of India: do you know where your brand is being dumped?

They were street flags, strung up across the city for the Games and made from a tougher form of PVC (blockout flex).

So, with clouds of disappointment rapidly lifting, we took as many of the flags as we could manage and hurried back to Conserve’s workshop.

As for the wall wrap banners, as far as we know, they were sold as cheap scrap to the city’s waste dealers. We’d like to think they ended up serving a useful second purpose. However, we can’t be certain.

But one thing is for sure, dear readers, it’s a little insane in the brain making so many of them in the first place, let alone without much thought for what happens to them when the party is over.

Looking forward to showing you what we did with the flags…

Festival perspective

14 Dec

For our final instalment in the Conserve Delhi 2010 ideas hub I’d like to share a response from Riki Edelsten, Partnership and Resources Manager at one of Melbourne’s premier community events: the Sustainable Living Festival.

SLF River Crowds

Sustainable Living Festival crowds along the Yarra River

Over the past decade the Sustainable Living Festival has inspired large audiences to live more sustainably, by showcasing and celebrating sustainability in the heart of Melbourne city.

Much has changed since the first Festival in 1998, held in regional Victoria and attended by just over 2,000 devoted innovators: the Festival now attracts over 120,000 visits to the event in Federation Square each February.

In 2011 the Festival is expanding to meet people where they’re at. Inspired by successful community engagement and mobilisation models from around the world, the 2011 Festival two week extended format is reaching out into our streets and suburbs engaging new audiences on local and global issues and relevant solutions.

This will be the fifth year I have been involved with the Festival. I began as a volunteer in 2006, producing Festival communication materials. Then I went on to find employment with a major sponsor of the Festival, the Victorian Government’s lead agency on Climate Change, Sustainability Victoria.  This year I’ve returned as part of the Festival core team and I’m loving it!

2011 Sustainable Living Festival website: http://festival.slf.org.au/

1. What’s the motivation behind the Sustainable Living Festival?

The ongoing goal of the Sustainable Living Festival is to accelerate community uptake of sustainability. Therefore we were delighted that 90% of visitors to the Festival believed that information from the 2010 Festival will help them to take action to live more sustainably.

2. How do you deliver the Festival with minimal environmental impact?

The Festival aims to walk the talk in event production. Each Festival our team work hard to deliver an event following our ‘Own Practice’ principles:

Cyclic – creating no waste

Solar – using clean energy

Efficient – running with less

Safe – ensuring its harmless

Social – caring for people

Smart – adapting to change

Some of the ways we deliver on these principles are:

  • The Festival uses 100% accredited GreenPower.
  • Promotional materials are printed using a waterless printing process, vegetable based inks and forest-friendly paper stocks or recycled waste paper.
  • Throughout the Festival a well-signed, four-bin system encourages attendees to separate paper, glass, cans, plastic, and food waste for compost and recycling. A waste wise ‘menu’ is also available at tables in the café area, informing patrons about our system and how they can use it.
  • Another great sustainability workout for our volunteers is the Wash Against Waste (WAW) stand. At WAW, a team of volunteers washes and dries used plates and cutlery from Festival food venders, thereby eliminating the need for disposable food and beverage containers. So popular is this concept that the Sustainable Living Foundation developed a WAW service to deliver to other festivals around the Victoria.

For more on the Festival’s own practice principles check out our website.

3. What are the main challenges you’ve overcome?

The main challenges are staging a Festival through a team that is made up of primarily volunteers. With a limited budget, employment periods are short which makes forward planning near impossible.

4.  What are the main types of waste created at the SLF festival and what’s the most unusual waste stream you’ve had to deal with?

Probably not highly unusual, but definitely an unexpected waste stream, were plastis cups supplied by one of our partner organizations in 2009, accounting for the sharp rise in rubbish to landfill.

slf waste statistics

Sustainable Living Festival waste management statistics

5. Have you ever heard of upcycling being done with waste after an event like the Commonwealth Games? If not, how do you think it can be best included in major event production and management?

No, I’ve never heard of waste from an event being upcycled. The best way to include it into an on-going event is with a sales or marketing edge, illustrating a point of difference to event patrons. Imagine if waste from an event was made into products that were sold at the next event – like promotional, branded reuseable cups/bags/water bottles – then the upcycling tells a story event patrons feel a part of. The upcycled promotional products become the outfits of a subculture.

6. What kind of upcycled products would you make from major event waste?

Festival belts with pouches to carry your essential festival kit, water bottles, crockery and cutlery. Items that can be used at the event.

Unexpected outcomes

5 Dec

“Hello Liz, this is Abhigyan from Reebok India calling…”

About a week after the Commonwealth Games ended, news of our project broke in two of India’s most widely read English newspapers – the Times of India and Hindustan Times.

The combined reach of these papers is almost 20 million people. Just this fact alone was enough to send us double air-punching around the Conserve India office.

But what we didn’t expect was the response from people in companies, like Reebok, tracking us down to talk all things upcycling. (More on Reebok soon).

As you may have guessed from my last post, one of the companies was Aviva, a multinational insurance firm. Aviva recently launched an international branding campaign – ‘You are the Big Picture’. As part of this initiative, thousands of photos donated by members of the public were projected for a week onto a giant banner hanging from Statesman House in Connaught Place, Delhi.

Aviva has promised one pound for every photo uploaded to their website – up to a maximum of 250,000 GBP – will go to education projects, working with street kids across India.

Jenna on Aviva's Statesman House Banner

Jenna donates her face in Aviva's 'You are the Big Picture' campaign

So we were certainly intrigued when David Jiggens, Production Director from ICON – Aviva’s event management company, gave us a call looking for a way to recycle the banner. David was used to having options like waste to heat treatment in his home country, England, for disposing of materials otherwise heading to landfill.

I said: “Hey Dave, recycling is so last century! How about we energy-efficiently upcycle your banner into some brand spanking new products? And while we’re at it, we might even throw in some free Commonwealth Games material to make the products extra specially unique.” (Not quite how it rolled, but I’m summarizing several conversations. You get the drift.)

David liked the idea and we reached an agreement to spend his recycling budget on upcycling instead. Nice.

Tune in for tomorrow’s post and we’ll show you how the banner got from the side of a building to our factory…and what we’re going to upcycle it into…

Go well,

Liz

Hands-on upcycling

10 Nov

With so much talk of upcycling by hand in this morning’s post, we thought we’d show you how Conserve India does it. Remember our photoshoot with freelance photographer, Jake Murphy, during the Commonwealth Games?

While he was with us, we asked him to capture some images of Conserve India staff in action at the East Delhi workshop. There were so many good shots we’ve broken them up into different posts charting the various aspects of Conserve’s production process, starting with:

preparing the base materials…

Conserve India production - cleaning tyre tubes

…to developing workable designs…

Conserve India production - design consultation

…then creating product samples…

Conserve India production - threading machine

…with precision…

Conserve India production - precision sewing

…coordination…

Conserve India production - sampling cushion covers

…and concentration.

Conserve India production - sampling

Once designs and samples are created, orders are taken and the full production process gets underway. We’ll post more photos on the workshop soon.

But before we do, I’m excited to tell you we have another special guest to showcase in our project Q&A series. She’s Australian, living abroad and one of the top design bloggers in the world (Can you guess who?)

We were pretty chuffed she made time to contribute to our little project. Looking forward to sharing her thoughts with you tomorrow.

It’s official!

1 Nov

 

Delhi 2010 Organising Committee head office

Delhi 2010 Organising Committee head office - we know it well...

After numerous visits to the Games head office, we’ve secured permission from representatives of the Delhi 2010 organising committee to collect Games promotional and advertising waste. We were given contact details for the main contractor company responsible for installing Games street banners, like these, across the city:

Commonwealth Games wall wraps in use

An Indian mahout rides on his elephant past the Commonwealth Games Village in New Delhi on October 1, 2010. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images) via the Boston Globe's Big Picture

Why the banners? Well, there are a couple of reasons:

1. We knew we had a good chance of creating products from the street banners as we’d created samples with similar materials prior to the Games.

2. The banners look great, they’re almost an iconic symbol of these Commonwealth Games (if you look at the Big Picture images they are the backdrop to at least half a dozen photos).

3. We discovered around 25,000 kgs of these banners in a warehouse waiting to be sold as scrap. Yep, that’s 25 tonnes of synthetic plastic banners just from this one aspect of the Games. That’s a significant waste stream in our opinion.

So I (Liz) got on the blower (phone) and asked the contracting company – also responsible for collection and disposal of the banners after the Games – if I could come and check out the waste. And here’s what I found at their warehouse…

Commonwealth Games wall wrap

Commonwealth Games street banners before stripping from metal stands

Commonwealth Games red wall wrap

Commonwealth Games banner after removal from stand

I was about to head back to the Conserve India office when I also spied banners from the 2010 Hockey World Cup held in Delhi last March. How cool is this design? After talking to Conserve’s designers we’ve decided we’ll ask for some of these as well.

2010 Hockey World Cup Banner

2010 Hockey World Cup Banner

So, we’ve identified a Games waste stream and secured permission to use it for making products. Now comes the tricky part of figuring out how much we can use, where we can store it, developing workable product designs and creating samples. Not to mention finding a buyer for the products! Looks like our real work is only just beginning…

But while we’re doing all this, we thought we’d ask for your  ideas: what would you create from this material?

It doesn’t have to be a bag, in fact Conserve India has already made stationery items, footwear and home interiors – like lampshades and rugs – from waste materials. If you’d like to submit a product idea we’d love to hear from you – simply describe it in a comment to this post or email lizfranzmann@hotmail.com and we’ll get back to you with a response.

More updates soon.

Cheers,

Liz

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