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Curtain of cast-offs


Mate, K, Curtain of cast-offs, Zero Waste SA Research Centre for Sustainable Design and Behaviour, SASA Gallery, Adelaide, pp. 16-17 (2015) [Curated Exhibition]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 The Author


I have been fascinated for many years on how forms of waste can be transformed into materials or objects of value, even of desire. This has also been termed ‘salvage design’. The proposal by the UnMaking Conference exhibition for salvaging C&D waste into useful objects, has allowed me to further my research and thinking in the application of traditional making techniques (mainly knitting) and the use of waste materials.

Plastic waste on construction and demolition (C&D) sites can come from a number of different sources including building materials and fixtures (pipes, electrical cabling, window frames etc); signage on particularly large building sites (hoarding, safety barriers, decals, scaffold sheeting etc) and packaging (film and bubble wrap, protective sheeting etc). In the United Kingdom it is estimated that 34% of waste from construction sites is packaging and that plastic packaging accounts for 0.88 tonnes of waste per week (Envirowise, 2006). In Australia a report by PACIA (A’Vard & O’Farrell 2013) suggests that only 2.2% of the total amount of plastics being recycled comes from the C&D sector and in another report by Zero Waste SA, it is estimated that a South Australian plastics recycling company could increase their recycling of polyethylene films by 4,000 tonnes per year (Zero Waste u.d). PACIA further suggests, "…little of the available plastic packaging… generated by the industry [C&D] are currently collected for recycling." (A’Vard & O’Farrell 2013, p30) In many states in Australia 0% of plastics are recovered from the C&D sector (A’Vard & O’Farrell 2013).

The use of plastic waste or ‘plarn’ (plastic yarn) for knitting and crochet is not new and has been used by many craftspeople to create usually domestic products such as bags, hats, purses and toys. The plastic has predominately been sourced from supermarket shopping bags – a lightweight HDPE plastic that when knitted increases in strength and creates a versatile and strong textile.

The recovery of plastic waste, particularly film/textile types on building sites has not yet been fully resolved for recycling or reuse, as discussed. This creative research project will use plastic waste from local building sites, and experiment with the different types of plastics available to form new textiles using traditional knitting techniques and various knitting needle sizes from normal to giant, to create new textiles for interior spaces.

Item Details

Item Type:Curated Exhibition
Keywords:construction waste, plastic, knitting
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Interior design
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The creative arts
UTAS Author:Mate, K (Ms Kirsty Mate)
ID Code:101371
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Architecture
Deposited On:2015-06-19
Last Modified:2018-02-19

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