The Victorian Woodworkers Association is once again hosting Create from a Crate as part of Double Take in Wood. This biennial recycled woodwork competition is now in its 7th year, has attracted entrants from around Australia. First launched in 2002, the exhibition is run in partnership with Waste Converters Recycling. In 2016, 24 skilled furniture makers, sculptors, turners and carvers from around Australia took up the challenge to produce a prize-winning design or artwork from just two recycled wooden pallets.
Every year hundreds of thousands of crates and pallets containing goods and components from all over the world are imported into Australia. Much of this packaging ends up in landfill, and it is estimated that over 500,000 tonnes of timber waste is disposed of each year in Victoria, enough to fill the MCG 1.5 times.
The exhibition was conceived by Ward Petherbridge from Smart Recycling as a way of educating the community about wood-packaging waste. The site processes around 20,000 tonnes of timber waste annually and much of the timber processed is from exotic foreign timber species. Some of these include oak, cherry, maple and elm. On-site his company repair and re-purpose a significant volume of timber pallets, but a large proportion still gets pulverised into low-grade mulch.
Ward approached the Victorian Woodworkers Association to collaborate on the Create from a Crate Competition and jointly they aim to to change people’s attitudes towards timber waste. The competition provides the incentive for individual wood designers and crafts people to design and construct functional or artistic objects from this often overlooked timber resource.