Mandurah community groups start environmental footprint conversation with bottle tops

Put a lid on it: Visual artist Jodie Davidson and art teacher Sue Girak with one of the bottle top footprints. Photo: Amy Martin.
Put a lid on it: Visual artist Jodie Davidson and art teacher Sue Girak with one of the bottle top footprints. Photo: Amy Martin.

Community groups joined forces to have an artistic impact on Mandurah’s environmental footprint. 

With the help of flywire, an old pool blanket, tens of thousands of bottle tops and the expertise of both visual artist Jodie Davidson and art teacher Sue Girak, fifteen school and community groups from Mandurah and surrounds created floating footprints for to display during the weekend’s Stretch Fest. 

The idea came from Dr Girak’s PhD project which focused on creative reuse and was originally done at City Beach Primary School in 2016 with plastic bags. 

By the time this year’s Stretch Arts Festival came around, she knew she wanted to recreate the project again – this time, using bottle tops. 

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“Now plastic bags are banned, we were thinking of a different way to show pollution,” Dr Girak said. 

“It was Jodie Davidson who talked about maybe bottle tops, because bottle tops are a big issue.”

Dr Girak said many people didn’t realise that there weren’t any facilities to recycle bottle tops, and currently they ended up in landfill. 

It’s projects such as this one – aptly named Put a Lid On It – which creates conversation around recycling and reuse, particularly within families as most participants were primary students. 

“It's really important that the kids realise they have agency and they can be drivers of change and that they will be listened to by having artworks like this,” Dr Girak said. 

But while the artwork was only installed in Administration Bay for the weekend, Ms Davidson said it was important the footprints had a life beyond those two days. 

“It's one thing to use the bottle tops in a creative process but what's the point if it ends up in the bin anyway? It's still ending up in landfill,” she said. 

“We can use the artwork more than once and it doesn't have to be thrown away.”

Each footprint will be returned to the community group which created it, with plans on each using them as a permanent piece of artwork. 

“This way, it has another life in that, we can regenerate it and use it as a mosaic,” she said. 

The original plastic bag footprints which kick-started the project will be sent to the Bejing New Talent Academy to be turned into pieces for next year’s Wearable Art Mandurah.