The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Up­cy­cling and re­cy­cling have dif­fer­ent def­i­ni­tions. Tak­ing an old tyre and cut­ting it out, as they do in South Africa, and make a ro­bust pair of walk­ing thongs, is up­cy­cling. Chang­ing or im­prov­ing an item’s fur­ther use.

Re­cy­cling is the same item dis­man­tled and reused as some­thing else. For ex­am­ple, green waste for mulch. By chop­ping and chip­ping its vol­ume, it breaks down quicker to re­turn to the earth as or­ganic mat­ter.

Many raw ma­te­ri­als have had a for­mer life. Com­pos­ite gar­den edg­ing that was once mostly plas­tic of some sort is milled, melted and mixed with hard­wood saw­dust and other ‘vir­gin’ plas­tics to make a very ef­fi­cient range of posts, rails, bol­lards and deck­ing slats that are more durable than wood.

We have yet to see the ad­vent of in­dus­tries here that de­mol­ish houses and the ac­tual bricks and mor­tar be­come ag­gre­gates to be remixed into new build­ing prod­ucts or as her­itage grav­els. Think of old red bricks that no longer have any build­ing in­tegrity in their struc­ture and are crushed as an at­trac­tive path­way, or more finer still and sprayed on a wall as coloured tex­ture.

Up­cy­cling can be ap­plied to an old, hag­gard bush that gets a hot prune and a good trim and be­comes a shapely or tor­tured top­i­ary.

Even soil can be up­cy­cled. Imag­ine all that clay in your gar­den if it was soft as silk, smelt like you wanted to scoff it, and had end­less happy hours just sift­ing it through your hands. You can en­joy this tac­tile de­light with the in­clu­sion of com­posted waste, green waste that has cooked it­self from within, de­cay­ing kitchen scraps, shred­ded news­pa­pers and adding a bit of gyp­sum. This is the ul­ti­mate soil up­cy­cle.

Re­cy­cling might also ap­ply to one of the most beau­ti­ful of our na­tives we sel­dom see as they seem to be lo­cated in a few iso­lated pock­ets around Aus­tralia. Cook­town can boast of forests of Eu­ca­lyp­tus phoeni­cia or Scar­let gum. When its beau­ti­ful, spher­i­cal pow­der puff balls of red/ or­ange form com­pletely, they drip with nec­tar, and as a re­sult have ev­ery con­ceiv­able bird sip­ping its sweet booty. The re­cy­cling also be­comes up­cy­cling as the flower will last for some time fresh. It then dies off to be­come a beau­ti­ful dried ar­range­ment. These trees will grow around the north­ern coast up into the dryer ranges. They like sandy soils. Well wor­thy of up­cy­cling and re­cy­cling.

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