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Recycle and Reuse = Creativity

By Luke R Davies, Wangaratta Urban Landcare Group and Recycled String Band

This is a concept that many people have embraced their whole lives whether out of economic necessity, artistic expression or as normal part of living a less wasteful life. Some of us are engaged with the idea without realising it, for there are many things that can be recycled or reused if you start to think about it.

I have a habit of refashioning discarded items into musical instruments. The habit got a bit out of control so I formed a band to take the instruments from the shed to the stage. The fact audiences have responded well to what we do has been proof to me that if you are passionate and you have a goal you can do surprising things. You can indeed recycle and reuse your skills and ideas just like you can a piece of clothing, cigar box, hub cap, scrap timber or any item you might have.

As a matter of fact writing songs is a practice that involves a lot of recycling and the reusing of ideas that you already have or stumble upon by chance. Rarely do you get a totally original idea… It’s a folk tradition to reuse other people’s ideas,  be it a phrase or bar of music, and recycle them into something relevant to the current time.

The skills of my first trade, metal work are now redeployed to mould timber. My skill set as a performer are called upon when I conduct workshops and teach. So the concept of recycling and reusing has few boundaries if you start to examine the notion in depth.

Not all recycling and reusing ideas is necessarily good. Green washed products abound so careful consideration of the social and environmental consequences of products is needed. Then there’s straight out plagiarism or “rip off” copies of branded products, certainly not ethical. In the music business tribute bands proliferate in amazing numbers, one is probably playing at a club near you soon. One band has even taken my theme into their name “Creedance Clearwater Recycled”. It is ironic that many of the bands we are paying “tribute” to once depended on audiences coming out to hear their new, original songs.

If we all go about recycling and reusing in a positive way remembering, to use a line that I have recycled “imitation isn’t creation”, we can be both inspiring and creative.

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