What is throw-away society?

Google says: throw-away society is a human society strongly influenced by consumerism. Describing overconsumption and excessive production of short-lived goods.

Relying on fast cheap products has a devastating impact on our planet.

Bird’s eye view bin

How can we move away from throw-away society?

A “circular economy” approach would help save resources. This is an economic system that aims to eliminate waste and continual use of resources.

This means reusing, sharing, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing and recycling to create a close-loop system. (All things we can put into place as individuals)

Creating a circular economy could minimise the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions. For a sustainable infrastructure that benefits us and the planet.

Bulletin Boards

An informative art display on classroom like bulletin boards. I got to show these for a short time to a methodist church congregation in Huddersfield. From their feedback many people were worried about excess waste and it’s environmental impacts. They already had an awareness of the issues involved but were more shocked by the amounts we send to landfill.

Board 1

Board 1 featuring snapshots of waste in Leeds, informative posters and large scale image of landfill.

It was interesting to show snapshots of rubbish from Leeds in a smaller town venue because they picture a scene less common in Huddersfield. It highlighted the trend in increased population (and more built up areas), and increased waste.

Board 2

Board 2 shows a “Go Zero Waste” poster I made next to the 6 R’s (Rethink, Repair, Recycle, Reduce, Refuse, Reinvent). I think it allows views to not only be aware of what they can do to help, but to actually have the knowledge to take action. Board 2 also features two digital prints of my drawings of Leeds bins with rubbish piles. And fragmented icons and sections of urban space to tie it all together like a classroom display.

Go Zero Waste Poster

I put in a feedback sheet for views thoughts on the display, however not many people actually wrote on it. Most of the feedback was verbal, with people mainly in shock at the facts and disgusted at the snapshots of waste. There was a positive attitude towards the possibility of chaining habits and working towards a less wasteful society.

Girl Space

This year I had the chance to exhibit in a day festival celebrating and showcasing female creatives. It was a wonderful event and allowed me to show Rubbish in Hyde Park Book Club. A venue right in the middle of Leeds student area, where the subject matter of excessive waste is very common.

Hyde Park Book Club
Three Exhibiting Artists
Rubbish – A1 Digital Print on Acetate
Rubbish – A1 Digital Print on Acetate
Rubbish – A1 Digital Print on Acetate

Snapshots

The way I work always begins with a snapshot of something/somewhere. I will be creating a page for my snapshots in order to digitally archive them.

Leeds Bin Bag Snapshot – Heightened Saturation

Some of my snapshots, like this one, are like pieces themselves. At the moment they are pretty much all linked to rubbish, as I am working around throw-away society. I usually heighten the saturation of them to use the vibrant colours when digitally drawing over the top.

Objects of desire

Objects of Desire – Kaleidoscope

A kaleidoscope of furniture drawings, pattern filled with patterns from images of litter.

I created this when thinking of mainly domestic “objects of desire”. Things most of us in the UK expect to have or at least aspire to have. Furniture is an obvious category for objects of desire because it is relatable, every day stuff that we just get used to.

It makes you mindful of people that are without these items that some of us take for granted. A critique of “Fast Furniture” – furniture made for a season and to be used for a short time before being disposed of. Usually cheaply and unsustainably made, its main purpose is to be “on trend”.

Alternatives to fast furniture:

  1. Buy second hand – go for vintage or find a bargain on eBay! There are so many options when it comes to second hand furniture, mostly cheaper then buying new.
  2. Buy locally – find a local maker that makes pieces that will last you, uniquely yours and can be passed down in your family. Chances are artisan furniture will be made more sustainably and ethically then that of a big brand.
  3. Fix/up-cycle/ make your own – if you’re replacing furniture because its broken, consider wether its worth fixing first. If you have the time, skills and resources fixing can save you the most money. Up-cycling is similar but may be more of a project. You can create newness from your old pieces. Making your own furniture gives you pieces that are custom made to suit you, by you! The most difficult of the options arguably, but if you have an appetite for furniture building this is a great option and can be very satisfying.

Waste Issue

Rubbish is difficult not to notice in my local area. I live in the student part of Leeds where bursting bins and pavements piled with bin bags are a common sight. This is a representation of the negative impact our levels of consumption are having on the planet.

Two Bursting Bins – Digital Drawing

There are so many materials in these piles of waste that could have been put to good use but instead will end up in landfill.

Original Snapshot

THINGS EVERYONE CAN DO TO LESSON THE WASTE ISSUE:

  • Consume less! The simplest fix of all, especially when it comes to clothing. Ask ‘why?’ before you buy, consider reusing items you already have first
  • Choose sustainable materials. When possible try to pick items packaged in recyclable or biodegradable. Opt for alternatives to plastics whenever you can.
  • Ditch single use products. Carry reusable shopping bags, invest a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, swap out facial wipes for a reusable face cloth…there are so many options when it comes to alternatives to single use. It may seem expensive but if you are in a position where you can invest in these options it will work out cheaper in the long run, and better for the planet!
  • Know your areas recycling. One issue with the recycling bin is that we often don’t know what we can put in it, so end up recycling less or throwing things that won’t get recycled. Having different rules for different ares in the UK does not make it easier, however you can get clued up on what you can and cannot recycle from a quick Google or by using this online Recycling Locator.