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Nepean Creative Students rehearsing for 2018 Trashion show

What is Waste Not?

Before The War On Waste there was WASTE NOT! We made our multi-award winning documentary film about how to transition to a waste-free world to show who keeps our big cities sparkling, where our garbage goes and what it’s worth if it isn’t just tossed into landfill. Our optimistic message was a hit with schools, universities and TAFEs as well as screening in 30 countries around the world, and on Qantas and the ABC’s Australia Network.


In 2018 we developed a WASTE NOT sequel project to inspire high school students  to reject fast food, fast fashion and eco-suicide and stop trashing the planet by creating alternatives. Each year our program plugs Trashion workshops with industry and artworld mentors into participating schools. These inspirational and empowering sessions take a hard look at the facts from plastic pollution to toxic dyes and factory processes,  as well as exploring alternatives to packaging, and new ways to design and make clothes.  


At the end of each year we showcase the student’s Trashion creations at the annual Youth Eco Summit staged by our partner the Sydney Olympic Park Authority. The schools compete to present fashion statements that really mean something to an audience of their peers.  You can explore the spectacular results on these pages. Together we will end fast fashion – one of the most toxic and wasteful industries on earth – and empower a whole new generation of ‘conscious consumers” to imagine a future where we don’t waste anything anymore.


What is trashion?

The WASTE NOT Trashion project proves it’s possible to weave a whole new wardrobe from the garbage bin. It’s even possible to create a whole new way of life! WASTE NOT gives the next generation real hope by teaching lost skills and inventing new ones. There are many artists and activists around the world, including the Australian queen of trashion Marina DeBris, who have made it their mission to make clothes and accessories from all the things we throw away every day – disposable plastic, packaging, textiles, electronic waste. The jobs and economies of the future will pivot on creative problem solving. Our imaginations really are the key to a greener, waste-free world – and let’s have fun while we are at it. We have the choice. We can stop shopping the planet to death. Support ethical brands. And change the world. That’s what WASTE NOT Trashion is all about.


ruth hessey

Ruth Hessey wrote and directed WASTE NOT while working as Communications Director for the Total Environment Centre. “I had given up trying to convince adults that we humans are shopping ourselves over a cliff,” she recalls. “In the face of eco-apocalypse it was pretty clear that Generation Z is our best hope. Teenagers have the digital skills to know what is really happening to the planet. I wanted to show them that creative problem solving is the way to the future. And it’s fun. Recycling and saving the planet don’t have to be boring and sad. All the best brains in the universe are working hard to make solutions happen. As scary as the world is right now, it’s also incredibly exciting to be working for a brighter greener future for everyone.”


Mel Liu has been with WASTE NOT Trashion since 2017 when she started to work with Ruth on the website and overall design of the project. Without Mel WASTE NOT Trashion would never have happened. Also a driving force, designer and sustainability champion Pirra Griffths came on as a mentor in 2018 and has supported the project ever since. We’ve also been blessed by the sage advice of Lisa Wriley from the Total Environment Centre, and Rianti Bieler from the Boomerang Alliance who created our marvellous trashion trophies from micro-plastics that she had collected while scuba-diving in the ocean. To our dedicated team of mentors each year – we are eternally grateful.

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