A portable recycling machine on display at the Ballarat Begonia Festival showed how your waste can become a resource.
A group of students behind the Monash University chapter of worldwide plastic recycling movement Precious Plastic explained to festival-goers how plastic can have a much longer life than the product it was originally intended for.
Final year engineering students created the Precious Plastic one-metre cube recycling machine last year to be easily transported to events for engagement with community.
Precious Plastic Monash University team member Kelly Laing explained certain types of plastic are cut up into smaller pieces before they are entered into the machine that shreds it into a confetti like material and is melted to be shaped into new items.
Three separate machines melt plastic to make 3D shapes, compressed sheets that can be moulded to shapes like bowls or cut, and spaghetti-like filaments which can be shaped into items like pot plants.
Letters, bowls, pot plants, jewelry and a guitar made from recycled plastic through the machine were on display throughout the weekend.
When we don’t need something anymore we can recycle it again. Plastic has a much longer life than what it was originally intended for.Kelly Laing, Precious Plastic Monash University
Ms Laing said the team displayed the recycling machine at a number of festivals to encourage people to re-think plastic.
"People might not have an idea as to how recycling works. Most of us just put things in the yellow bin and it gets taken away," she said.
"We want to engage with the community and show them this is how plastic recycling works and to think about plastic not as waste but as a resource we can keep re-using and changing into different things.
"When we don’t need something anymore we can recycle it again. Plastic has a much longer life than what it was originally intended for."
The Precious Plastic Monash University display was set up as part of the Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group tent that focused on educating the public about reducing, reusing and recycling.
Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group chief executive La Vergne Lehmann said her message of making small change to reduce plastic waste had been positively received throughout the festival.
"What we are finding is a lot of people are starting to do make these changes already themselves," she said.
"Since the plastic bag ban in the big supermarkets came in last year people are thinking about how they can reduce their plastic use a lot more.
"Straws in particular have attracted a bit of attention from people. They have seen those dreadful images of turtles with straws up their noses and are starting the see there are consequences to single use plastics that perhaps we weren’t aware of or thinking about until fairly recently."
A giant turtle filled with hundreds of single-use plastic water bottles as part of a Central Highlands Water sent a strong message to passersby.
"My message to people is if we all make one little change, that adds up to a whole lot of little change which is a big change," Ms Lehmann said.
"If people can remember to take their coffee cup instead of getting a single use one or remember their water bottle to take their own drink in, or having kids use lunch boxes at school rather than taking throwaway plastic - it all adds up to a lot of positive change."