Category Archives: Recycling

How much fun is a cardboard box?!

Talina Edwards Architecture Eco Cubby Creative Kids Ballarat


 Here’s a few pix from our Creative Cubby Project at the Ballarat Begonia Festival Weekend to show you just how much fun a cardboard box (or dozens of them!) can be!

Ballarat Begonia Festival Sustainable Design Eco Green Cubby House Home

Visitors found our posters really helpful to know what we were all about.

Continue reading

Happy 1st Birthday to our blog!

Talina Edwards Architecture is a Ballarat-based studio, specialising in sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes. 


Hey, Guess What?! It’s our birthday! Yes, its been one year whole since this blog began! So to celebrate, I thought I’d share a few stats, and a recap of the posts…you never know, you might’ve missed out on something you’d like to go back and check-out. Grab yourself a slice of birthday cake and a glass of bubbly (or a cuppa tea!), and settle in for some reading!

So this post is our 28th. Which means on average, a new post goes up about once a fortnight. There are 15 main categories for the posts: Architecture, Ballarat, Creativity, Design, Environment, Folio, Food, Gift Ideas, Green Building, Inspiration, Musings, Newsletters, Recycling, Sustainability, and uncategorised. According to the site statistics, there’s been over 4000 views of the blog, and 130 comments, which sounds pretty good to me, for a “new kid on the blog” ;o)

Here they all are (in chronological order):

The first day of the rest of my (amazing) life! (The reason behind why this blog began in this first place, or what kicked my butt into action!)

“You are what you eat” (In answer to a question I often get asked)

When I grow up, I want to be… (the answer is obvious, isn’t it?)

The self-doubting creative soul… sound familiar? (You too? Or perhaps not)

“So, what is your blog about?” (An old fave)

Transform: Altering the Future of Architecture (Review of Women in Architecture seminar in Melbourne)

Five ways to acknowledge World Environment Day (Relevant for every day!)

The secret recipe for great buildings! (Do you know what it is?)

What is democracy? Visit M.A.D.E. to find out (Review of one of Ballarat’s newly renovated public buildings)

The future is ‘green’ for big roofs (Review of Ballarat Green Drinks event + more)

Talina Edwards Architecture FOLIO project: “Miller and Co Studio” (A little project we did last year)

Spring has sprung! (Seasonal musings)

5 Ways To Celebrate World Architecture Day! (Or if you’re at all interested in Architecture and Building Design, take a peek!)

Design is not a dirty word! (Truly, it’s not. But it has does have a bit of a bad reputation!)

5 Recycling Ideas When Building Your Home (reduce/re-use/reclaim/salvage/up-cycle) (Love some recycling tips!)

5 Architecture Gift Ideas for Kids (For christmas or birthdays, these are for all kids to encourage creativity!)

5 things to buy an Architect for Christmas…(*hint hint*) (Hmmm, this was a very popular post, yet I didn’t receive ANY of these gifts last year…?!)

My big-hearted tribe (A shout-out to Big Hearted Businesses)

Our *first* Newsletter! (Well, we wanted to share it here too)

A Creative Conversation (Review of a fabulous workshop I attended here in Ballarat)

Season’s Greetings! (The obligatory Xmas Card)

Talina Edwards Architecture February Newsletter (Another update from the studio)

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions (Felt like I needed to!)

World’s Biggest Green Drinks Ballarat (Review of local event and insightful speaker)

Folio Flashback: Sustainable House, Malvern (Still love this house!)

Starting out on your green home journey? Ballarat’s ‘Smart Living and Building Expo’ (& we) can help! (Review and some pretty pics)

WHY do sustainable design? (Why do you think?)

So I’ve covered some local Ballarat (and Melbourne) events, talked about design and creativity, given advice in the form of “top five tips”, showcased some folio projects for Talina Edwards Architecture, written about seasonal events, talked a bit about who I am, and of course the posts are always somewhat related to architecture and my practice, sustainable design, green buildings and healthy homes.

The future of the blog is going to take a slightly more focused path for a bit as I concentrate on the “Sustainable Design” series of informative articles where I aim to help answer your questions, starting with our recent post on WHY do sustainable design?  I’ll of course also be covering what, where, when, who, and how…plus much more detail into the “what” and how sustainable / eco / green / energy-efficient design can benefit you and your home. (I’ll still continue to post some other topical news too).

Looking forward to sharing some of this with you all – as this is what I’m passionate about, as an Architect who specialises in this field.


PS I LOVE reading your comments, and responding to your queries…so please, say something in the comments box below. Do you have a favourite post of ours? Is there a topic you’d like us to cover? Maybe you’d just like to say hi, and happy birthday! Just you stopping to by to read is THE best birthday gift of all – so a big thank you – I really appreciate it! x

5 Recycling Ideas When Building Your Home (reduce/re-use/reclaim/salvage/up-cycle)

National Recycling Week 2013

National Recycling Week 2013

Did you know that it is National Recycling Week this week?! Founded by Planet Ark, it aims to bring awareness to the environmental benefits of recycling. The focus is mainly on kerbside recycling of waste at home/school/work, so I thought I’d give you some ideas beyond those basics and focus on how recycling can be applicable when building or renovating your home (or any building!). As the construction of buildings is one of the highest uses of energy, it makes sense that if we can recycle components, then it prevents waste, and saves energy that would otherwise be spent on creating something new.

Re-use of building materials commonly saves about 95 per cent of embodied energy that would otherwise be wasted.


1. Recycle existing houses

Don’t demolish existing houses, clearing the site and then rebuild from scratch! This is such a wasteful activity in terms of an entire building going to landfill, and then a whole new house being built. If possible, it is always more sustainable to renovate – rearrange/alter/upgrade/add-on/improve/retro-fit the existing house. There are plenty of ways to economically and sustainably do this, without bringing in the wrecking-ball. If some demolition is required, find a demolition-contractor who will de-construct the building and salvage the existing materials so they can be recycled. If the house is pulled apart piece by piece (rather than being reduced to a massive pile of rubble) then many elements can be re-used (either by you, or sold to others). Typically you should be able to salvage roofing materials, framing timbers, flooring, doors and windows, cabinetry, light fittings, and plumbing fixtures.  See here for further information about Building Material Waste and what can be recycled.


2. Choose Recycled Construction Materials

If building or renovating, there are many options today for selecting recycled building materials, or those with recycled content. I.e. Recycled/Salvaged Timber, Concrete with recycled aggregate, Recycled Rubber Flooring, Recycled Bricks, to name just a few. The Junk Map site is a great directory for finding recycled building materials (and  furniture and homewares) in Australia, or try Recycle Build Australia an online trade site. Choosing recycled materials doesn’t mean you have to go the extreme of building an ‘earthship’ with your own hands with walls constructed of tyres and bottles (however some of the results can be amazing!).

3. Choose Construction Materials than can be Recycled

Think about the life-cycle of your building and how durable it is – how long will it last? Can the building’s components be recycled at the end of their life? As mentioned in my first point above, when a building can be ‘dismantled’ rather than ‘demolished’ it is much easier to recycle the parts. For example, think about construction methods were components are screwed together rather than glued. i.e. Carpet tiles that can be removed (and recycled at the end of their life) and replaced easily, instead of the whole carpet being pulled up and sent to the tip. Many timbers are excellent at being recycled – particularly if nailed/screw-fixed. Although metals like aluminium and steel are very high in embodied energy (the energy required to make the product), they are also highly recyclable.

Recycled timber doesn't have to look rustic

Recycled timber doesn’t have to look rustic

 4. Consider Recycled Cabinetry/Doors/Windows/Handles

If you can give a new lease on life to something that would’ve otherwise ended up as landfill, then why wouldn’t you?! It is getting much easier to source items these days thanks to ebay, gumtree, local buy/swap/sell sites, trading post online, local salvage yards and of course markets/garage sales etc. Reclaimed kitchen cabinets can have loads of character, and may just require a new benchtop and a coat of paint. Salvaged timber-windows may require new glass (consider double-glazing) but can look fantastic once restored.

Extreme use of recycled windows!

Extreme use of recycled windows!

5. Upcycled Furniture

If you’ve ever spent some time browsing through Pinterest you’re sure to have seen some fabulous ideas for ways clever DIY types are “up-cycling” old palettes/ladders/cots etc. This goes beyond just recycling the second-hand item and re-using it; “upclycing” is all about improving someone else’s pre-loved trash and turning it into a whole new piece of treasure. Or check out Recycled Interiors blog for some ideas.


Not all of these ideas will appeal to everyone, but they are all worth considering when building or renovating your home. Each time we re-use and recycle things, it all helps the health of our planet.

Are you a recycler? What’s your favourite recycled/up-cycled item in your home? I’d love to hear your comments below!

If you want to learn more about all things design, architecture, sustainability and healthy homes, please sign up to follow my blog by email (top right hand corner of this page).

Talina x