Heights Community Centre -
03 May 2016.
This is a working relationship with Village Heights
Table Mountain Fund, Amy Rusch and Zandvlei Trust.
The first Upcycling Waste
Workshop funded by the Table Mountain Fund.
Amy Rusch is a freelance Artist / Maker and is presenting the series of four
This Zandvlei Trust
project is being managed by Gavin Lawson for the Village Heights community.
One of the main project aims is to help prevent or reduse the plastic litter
entering our wetland and the Rondevlei Nature Reserve.
Amy outlined what we were going to
do today, and everyone liked the idea of attempting to make
the beginings of a large tree for the tyre forest. She showed all the group a series
of photos on the laptop screens giving ideas what can be made from any type of
man made plastic material into something
visually beautiful, offering a secondary and possibly more reuses of the article
so that it did not end
up in the natural environment or the nearby municipal landfill site.
A secondary benefit it would stimulate the participants to be creative, to make
something of practical use, asthetic appeal to others who may want to buy such
items and in so doing creating a local industry of making and generating an income for
themselves and their families.
A win - win for everybody, our natural and built
First of all she demonstrated how a
leaf can be made from a single plastic carry bag. A tree will possibly require
hundreds of leaves of varying colours, shapes and sizes.
So we will all do a walk around the area and look for materials to be used
This is what we are battling with.
It is a long story which in itself takes up a whole series of articles
and not for here now. The issue is being addressed by local government and
Anyway we picked up and filled boxes with plastic bags and packaging also
discarded cool drink
bottles which we need for the project.
Back in the courtyard with some
of the litter picked up on our walk around.
None of us had done this before
so we were experimenting with ideas
thoughts and testing to see if it would work. Here Amy is stuffing the
soft plastic film packaging materials we picked up into the bottles and
A very good way to get rid of plenty of this stuff!!
Here a few bottles stuffed with
junk are being sealed together in an organic shape which could
be seen as looking like the foundation of a tree branch or stem.
Heat shrinking the bottles
together. Team work is important. This branch is getting taller. There
is another one on the go. Taking turns with the hot gun. We only had one hot gun
The other branch is being stuffed
with the litter and junk, even polystyrene packaging was broken
up and stuffed in. When polystyrene breaks down into tiny pieces it blows in the
wind, floats in water and becomes almost impossible to remove from the natural
The bottle tops which were cut
off are being heated to make the beginings of a flower.
By now everyone was getting
hungry and the lunch was ready. As always the little ones are fed first.
They were all put in the creche building and given their food.
Posing for photos.
The mothers could have a break
for lunch while the little ones were occupied eating.
We fed about 40 people today, including the children.
Thank you to Berny and Veronica for making the lunch.
After lunch Amy wanted to test
what a branch would look like wrapped in a green plastic bag
which had been cut into strips. Here the material is being shrunck onto the
Then a whole lot of ideas came.
What if we shrink clear bottles over
the green bag material?
How are we going to make a branch joint to the main stem?
How is the tree going to balance in the wind as it grows taller?
The beauty of this tree idea is it can be added too as time goes by.
A number of ideas were discussed.
Time was marching on while we were having fun.
It was nearly 15h00 by now and
children had to be fetched from school.
Some of the team who remained for
a group photo. Others had to fetch their children from school.
The tree stem was planted in the
vegetable garden. The idea is to leave it in the elements to
see how it weathers in the sun wind and hopefully the winter rain to come in the
We were all happy with the
outcome from todays workshop, fired with enthusiasm of what can
possibly be done.
Amy is away for a few months. She
has set the team homework for while she is away.
Follow the next installment....which will
commence in August.