IMAGINE instead of walking into Firstsite’s foyer, you step into a dinosaur scape with 6ft-tall creatures made from old hoover parts and laptops.

The usual silence is replaced with a junk orchestra and nearby there are workshops teaching families how to make instruments from urban waste before they attempt to play a tune.

Outside of the arts venue you come across two caravans - one filled with upcycled curiosities and one displaying artwork made from plastic washed up on beaches.

This is the repurposed and futuristic world set to be created by Chris Blomeley who runs Repair Reuse Recycle community interest company, and is preparing for Colchester’s first Recycling and Zero Waste Expo.

The family-friendly event will be an edutainment designed to expand people’s knowledge of how you can creatively reuse plastic to divert it away from landfill and our oceans.


He said: “People generally want to do the right thing and when you take it at face value, you’re putting the plastic bottles in the recycling and people wholeheartedly believe they are doing the best.

“Personally the word ‘recycle’ really bugs me because I think we misunderstand the real meaning of it. I want to replace that with ‘reuse’.

“One of the barriers for not repurposing more is there aren’t many options. If you go on to a site like Pinterest you’ll see you can turn old CDs into hanging mobiles but that’s as far as it goes.”

Rapid Electronics, in Severalls Lane, is supporting the expo on April 22 by holding an electronics repair cafe and Essex County Council’s waste and recycling team will be there too signing visitors up for various upcoming projects.

As will Wivenhoe jewellery maker Ophelia Mills, who creates striking bespoke pieces from otherwise dumped British china and porcelain, and the last robot on Earth WALL-E.

But not in person, on screen, with showings from 2pm.

Of course to grab the attention of the younger generation Chris has had to think outside the box.

But the deeper intention behind this, and his work at 15 Queen Street, is to challenge the throwaway culture we have adopted over decades by encouraging a circular economy.

According to Wrap UK, which works with governments and businesses on sustainability, this means keeping resources in use for the longest possible time and extracting the maximum value from them before recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of their life cycle.

The opposite is a linear economy where you buy a product, use it, dump it and have to go back to the manufacturer to buy it again.


Chris' colleague Kirsta McSkimming

He said: “We’ll never get rid of plastic, it’s part of our lives now, so we can hate it as much as we want but what’s the solution?”

At the expo Repair Reuse Recycle will launch exciting new venture RePLASTIC which involves shredding plastic bottles, putting the granulated bits into a mould and creating durable household goods.

“We’ve been lucky enough to have a company from the Netherlands fly over to deliver a workshop on how easy it is to shred plastic and turn it into a more permanent reusable items,” he said.

“I’m thinking decorative mosaic bathroom tiles, street furniture and even picnic benches.

“It ticks the boxes for the environment and to make it easier for the public to do the right thing.”

Funding from DEFRA to carry out their mission means for the past two years the social enterprise has been able to reduce daily electronic waste by 150kg in the borough.

By working with authorities and housing providers, items which would otherwise end up in landfill have found new loving homes.

After all, what would the alternative be?

He said: “From Essex our plastic goes to a plastic recycling company in Kent and there’s evidence it ends up in Poland and China which has said no more plastic.

“As a rich nation we have bought our way out of the problem but the tide has turned and we now need to take care of our own rubbish.

“The opportunity we have in Colchester is to lead the way.”

For more information click here or call Chris Blomeley on 07799 494797.