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Ashley Whiting, is the owner and operator of Ashley Whiting Creative, wife and mum of one, to her daughter Lilly.
I have always been a saver and a recycler. Having been born and bred in Zimbabwe, Africa, where often things like fabrics, ribbons or even glass jars were expensive or hard to get or didn’t exist, being thrifty and reusing things just became a way of life for all who lived there. We then moved to Australia in 2001 to a life of commercial abundance and this was just exciting for us, but also overwhelming. I also couldn’t get past the amount of things that get wasted from clothing toys and even furniture that is just thrown out, the roadside collections is where we procured our first BBQ when we first lived in Perth. Nothing that a good scrub can’t fix! My way of trying to reduce stuff was always to find a home for something rather than throw it away.

So going from lack to abundance was eye opening and something that I felt was an extraordinary waste. Nothing ever gets wasted in Africa down to what Australia calls “single use” plastic shopping bags which were always saved and used over and over. and milk bottles where people would use them for water and petrol or kerosene.

My journey with waste has been about making sure our spot on the planet is about recycling as best as we can, from food waste which goes to compost, to cardboard that gets drawn on and painted on and then composted, and children toys which get passed onto a new kiddie to enjoy etc. Most of my mum friends know I am always giving away clothes or toys to the next little one who can have use out of it.
Some of this recycling has even found its way into my creative pursuits. Being a costume tech for theatre, I have come across many creative ways we can utilise a lot of our waste to make creative stuff. I have made a garment utilising left over shade cloth for entry into the WA Fashion Awards. I made a head piece using a left over coffee bean sack. I find working with all these materials interesting and not allowing them to go to waste, but giving them another lease of life in a different way.

Being more conscious of buying what I need as opposed to what I want. I am a big op shop buyer and have changed up numerous outfits to be something that can be made into an every day garment. It is all about recycling and using what we can.

My hubby had to think outside the box too for his recycling efforts when it came to his diesel fitting job. But he can tell you about that. It took a bit of time to get the recycling thing happening in our life but now it has become a way of life that we both do, cos it is the norm now. I find I am pulling stuff out the bin still like plastics but we do get the majority done. I am now sharing these beliefs with my five year old too, cos it will be her home in the future that we need to preserve.

Listen to Ashley at the Sustainable Community Festival on Saturday 23rd March in the Albany Town Square