“This is Your Waste”: confronting installation forces people to face their waste

Food waste box highlighting fifty per cent of waste to landfill is food

A confronting new installation is compelling people to rethink how much they consume and throw away, by forcing them to face their waste head on.

For four days, Fitzroy North’s Edinburgh Gardens will be home to Yarra’s This is Your Waste installation: three transparent cubes filled with 4.8 cubic metres of plastic waste, 4.8 cubic metres of clothing waste, and 2.5 cubic metres of food and general waste.

“We’re asking people to be conscious consumers and think about how they can reduce the amount of waste they create in the first place,” said Yarra Mayor, Cr Danae Bosler.

The cubes hold waste that was dropped off to Yarra’s waste collection facility, and took just a week to accumulate.

“It looks like a lot, but it’s just a drop in the ocean compared with the 14.4 thousand tonnes of waste from Yarra’s kerbside collections that go to landfill each year,” Cr Bosler said.

This installation asks questions, prompts discussions and provides information to help residents reduce their waste footprint and learn how to and prevent waste from ending up in landfill, where it produces harmful greenhouse gases.

The average Australian buys 27kg of clothing each year, and sends 23kg of this to landfill, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Around half of the household waste sent to landfill in Australia is food waste, according to Sustainability Victoria. When food waste decomposes in landfill, it emits methane, which is at least 28 times more damaging than carbon dioxide, creating a huge contribution to Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“From at-home composting and worm farms, to businesses that have committed to going plastic free, the Yarra community is very proactive when it comes to doing what they can to reduce their waste.”

“But as we face this climate emergency, there’s more we can all do,” she said.

“We’re asking residents to commit to doing what they can to reduce their waste – buy less, get composting, repair your clothes, carry a reusable water bottle – there are a lot of small changes that can make a big difference.”

When waste can’t be avoided, it’s important to make sure it’s disposed of correctly. Residents can take items straight to Yarra’s collection facility, which accepts co-mingled recycling, batteries, clothing, soft plastics, styrofoam and electronic waste.

The free This Is Your Waste installation will be in the Edinburgh Gardens as National Recycling Week draws to a close, and is a timely reminder that recycling is not a stand-alone solution to waste production and management.

After the installation, the food, clothing and plastic wastes will each be sent to a processing facility where it will be processed for recycling.

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