textile recycling from your front door

Author: Millie Spencer

Photo supplied. 

Australian charities spend $13 million on waste management each year, sending 60,000 tonnes of unusable or unrecyclable donations to landfill, according to the National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations. To combat this issue, premium socks and underwear subscription service Manrags and CouriersPlease have developed a textile recycling service that collects unwanted clothing from Australian households, before re-using and recycling them.

“There’s no reason for clothing, shoes and linen to end up in landfill,” Michael Elias, founder and managing director of Manrags said. As such, the two companies have “created a fast and seamless pick-up experience for households.” This initiative will be rolled out through the transportation company CouriersPlease returns service Boomerang, which allows customers to have their old textiles picked up from their door. “Together with CouriersPlease,” continued Elias, “we believe we can achieve this goal and take giant steps to eradicate textile waste in Australia.”

“We can help Manrags achieve their positive outcomes,” said CouriersPlease’s chief commercial officer Paul Roper. “We’re a transporter and they don’t have transportation, so I think it’s kind of a win-win really. I think increasingly what the COVID crisis has shown us, is strength and collaboration.”

Roper said that as a transporter, they know they are adding to the carbon footprint and are committed to improving their credentials in the green space. “We’re optimistic within three years by 2022, that we really could get to the stage where we can say that we’re a carbon neutral transporter.” Manrags sorts all clothing out, before passing on items that are fit for future use to charities. The items aren’t are then prepared for repurposing or recycling.

“One of our drivers will go to their client’s door,” Roper said, “pick up their used textiles, old clothes, old shoes, et cetera, and then come back to the depot [and] consolidate it. Then we’ll give it to Manrags then they’ll repurpose those textiles and reduce landfill.”

Could this initiative convince students to actively reduce their textile waste and consumer habits?

Due to his limited wardrobe, Swinburne Communication Design student Felix Mcphie is already in the habit of tempering textile waste, beside the odd pair of socks or undies. “I tend to wear around 2-3 outfits based purely on convenience,” he said.

Mcphie explained that he usually donates his clothes when they become too small. “The motivation usually comes after I’ve started a collection somewhere in the house and it starts to pile up a bit. I would buy upcycled clothes if I had more of a disposable income.”

Media and Communications student Belle* echoed Mcphie’s view, that the price tag is what stops her from buying clothes made from up-cycled fabrics. “I’m not entirely sure if this is because these materials are more costly to source/clean or if it’s simply because sustainable and ethical fashion is trending at the moment.”

“If the clothing is of a high-quality and worthy of the investment,” she added, “then this is a movement I would very much like to support.”

Over recent years, Belle said she has become more aware of the shocking amount of textile waste resulting from the trend-focused fashion industry. To temper this waste, she tries her best to “curate a conscious wardrobe wherever possible, only buying a couple of new items each season, instead of the fast-fashion model of [undergoing] an entire wardrobe haul and refreshing with the arrival of each new season.”

“I rarely throw out any clothes, apart from perhaps old socks,” she said. “If something has a small hole, my mum and nonna help me mend it, and if it’s something I simply don’t reach for in my wardrobe for quite some time, I wash and iron it and then donate it to one of my local charity op shops, with the hope that someone else can enjoy the item and give it a new life.”

Belle said she has never donated to a textile recycler before, she would consider doing so in the future.

*Name has been shortened.

Visit manrags.com.au to get involved. 

swinburne eases semester 1 impact on studies: students can include or exclude grades from final GPA

Author: Tina Tsironis

Photo courtesy of the Swinburne Student Union.

Students at Swinburne may request to exclude individual Semester 1 results from their overall GPAs, the Swinburne Student Union has announced. 

While the university has yet to officially communicate the new policy to students, Swinburne Student Union President Param Mahal today told the SWINE that students can request to exclude final marks for individual units after receiving their Semester 1 results. Mahal said that after weeks of lobbying by the SSU during an “extremely difficult semester”, the change will ensure that students “are not disadvantaged when competing with students from other universities for jobs or graduate scholarships.”

“The impact of this year may very well shape students’ career and life prospects,” Mahal said. “The SSU have a duty to protect the time and energy they are investing at Swinburne and this change does just that.” 

For Science and Secondary Education student Braden Grady, the SSU’s announcement comes as a welcome relief. 

“The opt-in/opt-out GPA policy has provided me with the opportunity to decide the impact that the coronavirus has on my education,” Grady said.

“As a science student, I have had no choice but to sacrifice my labs to protect the safety of the public, which is entirely understandable. However, not having a high level of interaction has affected my understanding of very complex concepts which would have been more easily grasped in person.”  

While Grady’s learning has been impacted due to COVID-19, he said that ironically, this semester has been his highest performing semester yet.

“I suspect this is due to the reduced travel time – 1.5 hours on a good day – and reduced social interaction, so this does not affect me directly,” Grady said. “However, I understand that the lack of contact has negatively affected many students and so I see the gold in this opportunity.”

Journalism student Alex Docherty sees the announcement differently. 

“If you ask me, I don’t feel it changes much,” Docherty said. “It can certainly give you some leeway and I’ve certainly relaxed my studies a bit over the past couple of weeks. But I still feel like I want the best grade possible.” 

But for Maisie Stokes, a first-year Bachelor of Nursing student, the policy allows her to regain a sense of control amid a period of instability. 

“I have been having a rough time with online learning at Swinburne, as I’m more of a hands-on learner, so this period of study has been my biggest academic challenge yet,” Stokes said.

“I am also prone to getting overwhelmed and having breakdowns so I think Swinburne creating this new policy is fantastic, especially for those of us struggling with mental health and academia. This new policy makes me feel more positive and in control of my learning, and I think it would be amazing if Swinburne kept this in place after things go back to normal. I know it would greatly impact people’s choices and how they study for the better.”

someone

Author: Rutvij Bidkar

Image by: Toa Heftiba

 

You don’t need the world,

when someone means the world.

 

Grappled by fear

in times tough and dark,

someone makes it easy

like a walk in the park.

 

Attacked by the bullets

and devoid of armor,

someone makes feel you safe

like a ship in the harbor.

 

Benumbed by the chaos,

by the confusion and clutter.

Someone brings the peace

by pulling down the shutter.

 

Suffocated by the gloom

fighting the odd and unfair,

someone lets you out

to breathe in the fresh air.

 

Burnt by words

which towards hurt steer,

someone soothes the soul

and brings back the cheer.

 

You don’t need the world,

when someone means the world.

7 ways you can save money on food, without skimping on taste

Author: Swinburne Student Union

Image courtesy of the Swinburne Student Union.

The SSU have recently set up the Free Feeds Program to help students who are facing food insecurity due to COVID-19. But whether this is a problem for you or not, food and alcohol expenditure forms one of the biggest dents in the average budget – second only to rent. 

Looking at ways to save a bit of money can only be a good thing, and we would love to help with the following suggestions! 

  1. Buy your fruit & vegetables at local fruit stores rather than supermarkets.

Local fruit shops and greengrocers are often up to four times cheaper than supermarket produce, especially when you’re shopping in season. These stores are also more likely to give you a deal on food that is slightly past its prime. Plus, there’s the added bonus of feeling good about supporting local business!

2. Buy frozen.

If you don’t have a local greengrocer close by, consider buying frozen fruits and vegetables. They often come at a largely reduced price, particularly when buying out of season, and last for longer. 

3. Use food waste apps like Bring Me Home

Bring Me Home is an app that lets you buy and pick up discounted surplus food from nearby cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and groceries/ supermarkets. Discounts are often 50 – 70% off. 

4. Search for codes & coupons. 

Before purchasing something online, make sure you look around for some discount codes and coupons. Here are a few codes to get your started: 

UberEats: $10 off your first order with Uber Eats with the code: LHACKERQ22

Woolworths: $10 off your first pickup order at Woolworths with the code: PICKUP10

and Hellofresh: Get 40% off your first HelloFresh box with the code: HFHACK40.

5. Check out social media accounts run by your local restaurants and cafes. 

Many businesses are offering special discounts and deals due to COVID-19. These won’t always show up in a Google search, so make sure you’re following your local stores on Facebook & Instagram to keep up to date on their latest deals. 

Prime example: The Counter Café near our Hawthorn campus is offering FREE small coffees to people negatively affected by COVID-19. 

6. Use restaurant deal apps like EatClub.

EatClub encourages restaurants to offer deals to customers for dining at slower ‘off-peak’ times, day and night. You can even use code ‘SWINBURNE’ to get a further 5% off. 

7. Shop the sales with apps like Wiselist

Wiselist helps you save time and money by tracking supermarket specials and comparing prices. The app also helps you create, and stick, to a food budget, with your very own shopping list, complete with price limits. 

unleashing your inner ‘quaran-queen’

Author: Millie Spencer

Image by Taylor Miller.

Harsher new social distancing laws throughout Australia means the extrovert in me has copped a blow. 

It’s easier to list the negatives this virus has caused: no Uni, no Haddon’s coffees, no swims at the gym pool, no cheap Wednesday Lido tickets, no SSU sausage sizzles or TikTok thriving because The Hawka and Hammer & Swine are shut – so where else would people get their groove on? 

But the world isn’t over, so what if we tried to find the positives in COVID-19 and became totally fabulous at quarantining, by unleashing what Johnathan Van Ness would call our inner ‘QuaranQueens’?

I caught up with Swinburne student and lifestyle/fashion Blogger Belle, who runs the blog Daisy Chain Daydreams, for some advice on how we can stay fabulous during this tricky time. 

Believe it or not, we can all be QuaranQweens with a little bit of practice!

Dress for Success

One thing I’ve missed has been the opportunity to get up each day and put on a killer outfit. So, I asked Belle how we can feel fabulous whilst working and studying from home.  Have a read of her thoughts!

Get Dressed.

I’ve always enjoyed the art of dressing up. Getting dressed each morning before starting uni or work is fun – it also makes me feel ready to face the day ahead, and gets me out of my chill mode. When I’m wearing my dressing gown and slippers it’s more likely to put me in the mood to procrastinate and watch Netflix instead of working my way through my to-do list.


Wear a nice outfit. 

Your outfit doesn’t have to be overly dressy or uncomfortable either. A soft warm jumper with jeans and your favourite sneakers, a fun shirt or blouse with culottes and boots, a patterned skirt or pants with a turtleneck and cute glasses or a fresh hoodie with black jeans and your comfy shoes. Uggs are more than okay when WFH! 

Accessorise.

I also find accessorising my outfits fun too – maybe add a cute pearl hair clip, funky earrings, colourful lip-gloss, eyeshadow or add a silky hair scarf to your ponytail. I know these are only little things, but they brighten my mood.

Put on some makeup – if you like! 

You might also find it a fun self-care activity to pop on some of your favourite ‘feel good’ makeup essentials a couple of times a week. I find a wash of subtle shimmery eyeshadow on my eyelids, a touch of blush on the apples of my cheeks and lip gloss brighten my mood first thing in the morning.

Stay Entertained

With all the fam home, I’ve had to ditch singing ‘Party in the USA’ at the top of my lungs in the shower. So, what else can we do to keep ourselves entertained?

Engage with family.

Open up your games cupboard and rediscover your inner child – play some board games with siblings and family. I’m particularly enjoying good old-fashioned marbles and battleships at the moment! 

Create a mood board.

Find some creative inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram and create a cute mood board of activities and your favourite emotions and feelings, and then search for activities that will help you achieve this mindset 🙂 

Find a new hobby.

Start something you’ve been dreaming about starting, but never feel like you never had the time for – until now! Experiment with watercolour painting, drawing, or learning some simple phrases in a language you find interesting – this is easily done through free learning tools like DuoLingo. Other creative ideas include teaching yourself a new instrument through YouTube tutorials, or starting an uplifting podcast with a friend using Zoom or Skype. 

Bake.

Banana bread quarantine memes aside, baking is a soothing self-care activity you might enjoy whilst spending this extra time at home. I find baking in the afternoons whilst listening to the pitter-patter of raindrops outside after a morning of studying rather therapeutic. If you’re looking for some simple but delicious recipe ideas, I personally love muffins, zucchini slice and banana bread, but you can also filter your search through Pinterest, where a world of recipe ideas awaits!

Netflix.

No quarantine list is complete without it! Now’s the perfect time to find a new TV series to watch in the evenings. Stock up on popcorn and tea, and you’re sorted.

Self-Care

Who doesn’t admire the biggest self-care Queen of all, Jonathan Van Ness – especially when he absolutely masters morning yoga with his cat? As such, I asked Belle how we can all practice self-care in our own, yet equally beneficial ways. 

Do a digital detox.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the news and always being ‘on,’ a digital detox might be what you’re looking for. Whether it’s an afternoon, a day or a weekend offline, you’ll feel refreshed and have a clearer mind afterwards. You might even find that you’re not in a hurry to check your phone by the end of it either.

Meditate. 

Mediation is a wonderful way to switch off from the world for a short while and simply ‘be’. It’s about honouring your emotions and giving yourself some time to be present in the moment and unwind. I recently started using a wellbeing app called Clementine which has a lovely library of meditations on a range of topics including relaxation, confidence, sleep, mantras and body positivity. There are varying time frames too – some require five minutes of your time, whilst others are between ten to twenty minutes. 

Work Out. 

Working out at homeis a great way to destress and improve your mood. Working up a bit of a sweat and your heart rate releases endorphins that make us feel good. If you’re not usually one to workout (me!) or don’t really enjoy exercise, there are lots of short and fun routines available online for free you might enjoy. Some places to start browsing include YouTube, IGTV, Insta Stories and free apps. Brands like MUJI are posting yoga ‘flow’ soothing stretch activities to help loosen up any tension in places like your shoulders. These take less than five minutes and require no equipment, but feel so good afterwards. 

Bathe. 

Having a bath is perhaps the most stereotyped activity associated with self-care, but it’s still a fun activity and can help soothe your muscles and put your mind at ease. If bubble baths are your jam, The Body Shop has a beautiful range, and if you’re after a delightful (and fun!) bath bomb, LUSH have you sorted – some of my faves include Twillight and Rose Jam. Bath salts are another lovely option, and ideal for soothing your muscles after a home workout. Some natural brands are Salt By Hendrix, Herbivore Botanicals and there’s also cute giant tea-bag-style bath salts you can find online!  

Remember that we’re all in this together.

Whatever emotions you’re feeling are valid and okay. Everyone is learning to adapt and cope with this unprecedented new ‘normal.’ It’s totally okay if you don’t try one of these new hobbies and spend this time relaxing in your own way. It’s important to relax even if you feel like you should be doing something. This timeout will nourish your soul and ensure you feel refreshed to start your next task when you’re ready.

Hopefully you’re now equipped with some tools to get going on your QuaranQween adventure, and are ready to slay #socialisolation. If you’re looking for some more wholesome content feel free to follow Belle’s blog on Instagram @daisy_chain_daydreams. 

isolation bucket list

Author: Grace Ashford

Image courtesy of Huffington Post.

Are you bored at home, with nothing left to do? Already learnt all the TikTok dances you could muster, annoyed every family member you live with and now, are simply moping around the house wondering what’s next? 

I’m going to go right ahead and say what I will one day say to my children: ‘You think you know what boredom is?’ Honestly, boredom is the greatest gift 2020 has blessed us with. What a way to push you out of your usual zone and force you to try something you would never otherwise think of attempting. 

If you haven’t checked off every single item on this Isolation Bucket/To Do List, I don’t want to hear you so much as utter the word boredom. 

So, go on, try some (or all!) of the following. I dare you and support you in equal measure.

  •  Adopt a pet rock and paint a face on it with white-out.
  • Shave your eyebrows off (Cute quarantine cut!). 
  • Learn Les Misérables in its entirety. 
  • Make slime (Google it. Not hard).
  • Learn how to do a handstand.
  • Learn the rap verse in Nicki Minaj’s Bottoms Up.
  • Stare out every window in your house for two minutes each, then give yourself three minutes to write down as much as you can remember.
  • Go back and see how much you got right and how much you missed.
  • Prank calls! (but let everyone you prank know that you’re thinking of them and you want them to have a lovely day and that they should stay safe).
  • Chubby bunny challenge but with Easter eggs. 
  • Do as Giselle did in Enchanted and make an outfit out of your household curtains (parental figures/housemates might get irritable, but just again…just ask them if they even know what boredom is).
  • Make a bug catcher and see if you can score a new pet ant.
  • If it’s raining, go outside and see how long it takes to fill up a whole glass of water straight from the sky.
  • Discover a new way to fold underwear.
  • Listen to the words of Come On Eileen and, without googling the lyrics, try to decipher what is being said.
  • Spend a whole day only communicating in alphabetical order, i.e. ‘ALLO, Baby! Come dance especially frightening. Good heed!’
  • Name each of your toes based on their characteristic traits.
  • Give yourself those really skinny braids that kids would always come home with in primary school after their family trip to Bali.
  • Adopt the personality of Cher in Mamma Mia 2.
  • Adopt the personality of Sue Sylvester from Glee.
  • Send Lorde a Twitter message every day telling her how lovely her eyebrows are until she replies. 
  • Eat a whole bag of desiccated coconut, one shred of coconut at a time.
  • Make a mosaic out of old clothes.
  • Spend an hour trying to come up with reasons why people even like that tiger show on Netflix. 
  • Record a cover of Lana Del Rey’s Video Games in Simlish.
  • Braid your body hair.
  • Shave a little love heart into your body hair.
  • Give yourself a French tip manicure with whiteout (for those Grade 4 vibes). 
  • Floss your teeth.
  • Write a journal entry from the perspective of an escaped criminal in 18th century London.
  • Eat a raw onion in an attempt to see if you can understand Tony Abbott in the slightest.
  • Wax your eyebrows with a piece of tape.
  • Try to drink an entire cup of water using an empty toilet paper roll as a straw.
  • Download movies onto your laptop illegally ‘til your laptop gets a virus. (so it doesn’t feel left out). 
  • Write a song about being bored.

Go on. Get cracking. And share your boredom-busting ideas with us using the hashtag #IsoBucketList.