Launched in 2018, Jellyfish Plastics is ReMida's adaptation of the Precious Plastics model, which has done and continues to do amazing and innovative things worldwide. The original project was funded under the Waste Authority's CIE program and supported by the Vic Park Men's Shed and the City of Armadale. Since its launch, Jellyfish Plastics has been exploring different ways to reuse plastic bottle caps to make beautiful, purposeful items.
So, what does that mean?
We use two different methods to make items; the first is an injection mould process, which creates beautiful, polished items while also being quite a slow and people-intensive process. The second is our hand-craft plastics, famously made with the assistance of an everyday-sized toastie maker. These items have a more handmade style; they can be produced quickly, and you make quite a range of items in this way. While not quite as polished as the injection molded counterparts, they demonstrate that, with some practice, anyone can make their own beautiful items.
Hey, didn't you do workshops?
Yes, and we still do, although not as frequently as we have previously. The main barrier is logistics, making sure there's enough toastie machines for even a small group of say 15-20 can prove difficult. We have done demonstration-based sessions at schools and in the community, but the thing that is the most fun is making something rather than just observing. On our list for this year is finding a way to deliver a safe, fun and viable series of Jellyfish Plastics workshops, which people can enjoy and come away with something they've made with their own hands.
Can you work with hot plastics safely?
Ok, so there are a few parts to answering this question. First, when transforming a
material with heat, using chemicals, or kicking up dust, wearing the safety gear appropriate to the task is key. You only have one set of lungs, eyes and ears, so taking care of them during any maker or creative process is priority number one. Secondly, aside from the injection moulds, you are working with the plastics at low heat, and from what we've found through research and watching other like projects, working with number 2 and 4 plastics can be done safely (see point one). Lastly, if you've got specific concerns or questions, especially if you have any preexisting breathing challenges, make sure you check with your doctor before working with plastics, even if you're using all the safety equipment.
Can my school get involved?
You bet. ReMida has helped establish Bin Chicken Recyclers Hubs, one at Durham Rd School and another at Aspiri Primary School. The Bin Chicken name comes from the first hub we established in Armadale and helps create a sense of connection between the hubs. You're free to choose a name that better reflects your school and/or project's identity, but it does give you a starting point if that's useful. Your school or group can be involved and start their own plastic reuse hub in many different ways. The best place to start is to email firstname.lastname@example.org; we can help you get started.
So, What's Next for the Project?
This year's plan is to dedicate some additional time to Jellyfish Plastics and help it become a more visible part of ReMida's day-to-day programs and event offerings. We're still working through what that will look like, but we're excited to see where the year takes us. Starting in March, if you happen to visit ReMida on a Wednesday, you may discover that the making part of Jellyfish Plastics has a new home. We've moved the more hands-on melting and moulding process to the upstairs balcony, but the main shop and display are still downstairs. In the meantime, check the website for more information (Jellyfish Plastics | REmida WA) and stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.