Nepean High School at Youth Eco Summit 2019

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 as well as screening in 30 countries around the world, and on Qantas and the Australia Network.

Now we have developed a WASTE NOT sequel project to inspire high school students  to create a sustainable future by rejecting fast food, fast fashion and eco-suicide. Our Trashion workshops with industry and artworld mentors are inspirational and empowering.  At the end of each year we showcase their creations at the annual Youth Eco Summit staged by our partner the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, making spectacular fashion statements that really mean something to an audience of their peers.  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 change the world! Waste Not is not just an idea, it’s the most exciting way to live.

Nepean 2019 Trashion Runway
Nepean 2019 Trashion Runway
Nepean 2019 Trashion Runway

What is Trashion?

We designed WASTE NOT Trashion to give young people hope. We didn’t want to preach. And we knew that creating a couture collection made entirely from “wasted” materials would be fun. There are many artists and activists around the world, including the Australian queen of trashion Marina DeBris, who have made it their mission to create clothes and accessories from all the things we throw away every day – disposable plastic, packaging, textiles, electronic waste. We need to transition to a greener, waste-free world. Not tomorrow or next year, but today. We have  to stop the human race from shopping the planet to death. By employing lost skills and inventing new ones its possible to weave a whole new wardrobe from the garbage bin. It’s even possible to create a whole new way of life.  Environmental apocalypse is no longer a doomsday projection. It’s something we have to deal with now. We have the choice. We can become “conscious consumers”. That’s what WASTE NOT Trashion is all about.

Program Director Ruth Hessey

Project Director 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.”


The Team

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.