Students from New College Durham have been creating clothes, costumes and pieces of art by recycling waste.

The art and design students have been working with Durham County Council’s strategic waste and community arts teams to produce a range of stunning items using plastic bottles, old magazines and discarded clothing.

While working on their project, the students visited the O’Brien Recycling Plant in Gateshead to watch how County Durham’s waste is dealt with. They also visited Suez in Billingham, where refuse is made into new products and used to generate energy.

                                Steampunk Forest Guardian by Alex O’Neill

The students’ artworks will be on display as part of a public exhibition at Freeman Quay Leisure Centre in Durham City from Wednesday 16th May to Wednesday 23rd May.

On Thursday 17th May, a prize-giving event will be held at the leisure centre, in which the top three students in each class will be presented with awards, funded by O’Brien.

Durham County Council’s external projects officer, Ruth Smith, said, “The students taking part in this project have produced some excellent work and learnt a great deal about the benefits of using textiles and recycling unwanted materials.”

“Inspiring the next generation to recycle and reuse is extremely important for the future and we hope they go on to share these messages around how to dispose of waste responsibly.”

                                  Living Planet Dying Planet by Freya Letton

More people in the north east seem to be becoming interested in the recycling, upcycling and reuse of waste items.

A Sunderland youth group recently furnished a flat for a person with learning difficulties with upcycled furniture. Upcycling is when objects are improved or converted to new purposes.

In County Durham, a campaign has been launched to encourage people to donate unwanted clothes, accessories and fabrics to charity shops. It is estimated that around a third of the clothes purchased in the UK are thrown out without having been worn once.  

(The featured image shows Reptile vs Dinosaurs by Joshua Thornton.)




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