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A Journey from Zero Waste to Glut and the Return: Sustainable Commuity Festival


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

“Ocean innovation in Albany’s Old Railways Station”: Sustainable Community Festival

A year into Albany having been put on the international map for ocean renewable energy, the new headquarters are getting ready to host a multi-disciplinary cohort of researchers and industry developers in the Old Railway Station on Proudlove Parade. Part of The University of Western Australia, the State Government co-funded Wave Energy Research Centre is managing world-leading research and fieldwork activities into wave modelling, wave prediction, coastal processes and foundation design. This is Australia’s new knowledge hub for innovation in ocean renewable energy with a strong commitment to community engagement.

Wiebke Ebeling completed a PhD in neuroscience at The Australian National University in Canberra. During her degree, she also founded a school outreach and science communication initiative that led her to look for a career without lab coats or gum boots. Before arriving to call Albany home, she was the Outreach Officer of the Australian Ocean Data Network in Hobart and the Education & Outreach Manager of the Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics in Perth. During those years, Wiebke found lots of ways to share her love for science, for example by producing a children’s comic book and a planetarium show. She moved to Albany a year ago for her current job as the Centre Manager of the UWA Wave Energy Research Centre, with a vision to offer science engagement opportunities for the Great Southern community in the new Centre headquarters.

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

Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Earthbag House: Sustainable Community Festival

Discover the benefits of building an environmentally and economically sustainable home with Earthbags. This includes how to address the basic requirements of Australian Building Code and what it means in terms of Energy Efficiency (including heating and cooling), Bushfire Ratings, Structural Integrity, Use of Recycled Materials, and more.

Kate Ryan-Taylor and her husband Scott are building Australia’s first council approved Earthbag dome home. After spending 2 years in the planning process, Kate and Scott are now on target to build their home for under $35,000 in less than 18 months from start to finish. Kate is presenting today and keen to share the knowledge to enable others to build a sustainable home in an affordable way from the Ground Up.

Listen to Kate at the Sustainable Community Festival Saturday 23rd March in the Albany Town Square.

One Litre of Landfill a Week: Sustainable Community Festival

It seems that in many households, the women are leading the charge into low-waste lifestyles, with husbands and kids being brought along for the ride – sometimes kicking and screaming. So how do we get them on-board and move low-waste living from something they do to ‘keep Mum happy’, to something that is valued by the whole family? Ella discusses ideas, barriers and wins from her own journey – and also some words of wisdom from other people’s husbands!

Ella Maesepp is a passionate environmentalist, working a ‘real job’ at Katanning Landcare and indulging her hobby for sustainability education through her small business Katanning EcoHouse. With an Environmental Science degree from Murdoch University, an off-grid strawbale home, two small kids, a farmer husband and too many community commitments, she understands the importance of making changes that not only protect our planet, but work for real people. Ella’s family of four produces just one litre of landfill per week, and she loves to help others achieve similar results. She looks forward to a world without GladWrap.

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

Why Loving Yourself is Essential for Sustainable Living: Sustainable Community Festival

Looking after your physical and mental health is an important pillar in living a sustainable lifestyle. Poor self-esteem, body image issues and chronic stress all contribute to excessive consumption and not having time to create sustainable habits. In this presentation Emma will explain why looking after yourself from a place of loving kindness promotes and supports a sustainable world. She will explain 3 easy ways to start loving yourself that you can put into action straight away.

Emma Polette is the founder of Body Love HQ. Her clients call her a real woman for real women. She is a qualified personal trainer, health coach, reiki master & yoga teacher and the creator of The Body Love Method™
She uses these modalities and many other tools to empower women to treat their bodies with love just as they are right now.
Emma’s mission is to help thousands of women feel great about their bodies without harsh diets or exercise programs.
When she’s not teaching classes & workshops, empowering her private clients or recording her latest podcast episode, Emma hangs out with her dog Barney and enjoys a dirty chai latte with a side of gluten-free chocolate brownie.

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