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Reuse and recycle


Thursday, 03 November 2016

With a drive to reduce waste and skills for repurposing materials, Don Glasby is helping his community to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Ex-fitter and turner, and marine engineer, Don Glasby has had plenty of experience reusing and recycling. As the chairman of the Gladstone Men's Shed, Don and his friends made toys from recycled materials.

Now a resident at The Lakes Bundaberg, Don is sharing his love of recycling with fellow residents. He’s working to set up a project shed where the community can work alongside each other to create, make and reduce waste. 

‘We've been to the tip and found things like old doors, which we turned into a cupboard to store our tools,’ he said. ‘I'm still in touch with the shed in Gladstone because they're going to donate us some tools. I'm just assessing the sort of things we'll need.’ 

Repurposing to reduce waste 

Don says mindfulness is key when it comes to what you're going to throw away or recycle. He says to think about whether something really belongs in the bin. Maybe you can give it away or turn it into something new. 

‘We're very careful about what we discard. I'm a bit of a hoarder, really,’ says Don. ‘Our rubbish tin's only ever a quarter full. So many people throw so much stuff away, but there are other people in the community who'd love to have those things.’ 

‘The beauty of repurposing is that there's no limit to how creative you can be.’ 

According to Clean Up Australia, Australians are among the highest waste producers in the world. We generate almost 41 million tonnes of rubbish each year. And half of that is either dumped in the environment or sent to a landfill where it can’t be recycled. 

The beauty of repurposing is that there's no limit to how creative you can be. Wooden crates stacked on their sides can become a rustic bookshelf. Empty flour sacks make striking cushion covers. Old fabrics can stretch on a frame for instant wall art. Empty jars and bottles are the perfect vessels for sprouting succulents. Combining imagination with resourcefulness can reduce the ever-climbing mountain of rubbish. 

Using sustainable materials at home 

The simple act of recycling a tin can saves enough electricity to keep a TV running for 3 hours. So imagine what we could do if we decorated our homes with sustainability in mind. 

In his own home, Don's already done several renovations and made furniture using sustainable materials. 

‘Since we moved into the village, I've made a couple of changes to our house. Raelene didn't have many drawers in the kitchen and wanted some more, so I reused the doors and shelves that I took out of the cupboard. I turned them into drawers and put lazy Susans in all the cupboards so she doesn't have to bend down too far.’ 

‘I always keep busy. Making things helps keep me young.’ 

‘I've made drawers for the computer room from scrap material and a few pieces of furniture like bookshelves and tables. Where I can, I use materials I've collected. Most of the things I make come from scrap material. Hardware stores and places like Bunnings often throw materials away if it's slightly damaged, even with a tiny chip. Personally, I love working with fine grain timber, inlaying timber and stuff like that. I always keep busy. Making things helps keep me young.’ 

Learn more about The Lakes Bundaberg, QLD.


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