I recently wrote a blog post on repairing, recycling and altering worn out clothing and have since learned that Waste Reduction Week is October 21-27 in Canada. Glad to see that textiles is part of that upcoming week.

Each day has a different theme as pictured below, and a pile of information available on the Waste Reduction Week website: general news, the issues, solutions, and actions we can take for each daily topic.

The two I want to mention here are textiles (theme day is Tuesday, October 22) and plastics (Thursday, October 24).

More than 68 textile items are disposed of per person each year in the United States through recycling, donations, garbage and so on. That's a lot more than I realized and includes clothing, bedding, coats, shoes, and more. I was interested that some companies are taking the lead in converting discarded textiles into new fibres that can  then be made into new items. 

Here are a few additional suggestions from the Waste Reduction site that I had not included in my post, all great ideas:

  • hold a swap with friends, family and colleagues
  • search for DIY resources for altering and repurposing old textiles
  • be conscientious about what you buy in the first place
  • look to fashion companies that are recycling textile waste into new fibres

And on the topic of plastics, theme date Thursday, October 24, there must be more that we, as artists, can do to reduce or re-use plastics.

I know of some weavers, for example, who are reusing plastic bags in their tapestries, cutting up the bags into strips called "plarn". It adds a new dimension to their art. 

What other ways can we eliminate plastics in our artistic practices? I like to use old cereal bags as paint palettes and as a surface to glue on since paper and fabric don't stick to the cereal bag. And of course plastic containers can be  re-used as water tubs for brushes.

But these are only 2 ideas. What suggestions can you share? What messages can we send to manufacturers and suppliers of art materials to reduce the use of plastics?

Please share your thoughts and ideas on what we can do, not just during Waste Recycling Week, but all year long.


"Music is full of longing and movement.  Painting should be the same." I read this quote in Hundred and Thousands: The Journals of...