Waste It Ain’t by Sophie Thomas


Waste It Ain’t by Sophie Thomas 

Sophie Thomas, co-director of Design at the RSA, founding director of Thomas Matthews and mentor of our young creatives competition, inspires us to see rubbish as an untapped resource in her spectacular multicoloured poster created from waste ink.

When litho printers finish a print run, the leftover ink gets sieved into a big barrel and downcycled into oil,” says Sophie. “But recycling should always be the last option. That’s why I wanted to get some extra printing out of the leftover ink. We should always look to find the beauty in waste before deciding it’s waste.

Calverts kindly gave me some of the leftover ink from their big barrel. I used it to print the message with wooden letterpress blocks, then squeegeed more if it across the page to create the background. The ink was so gloopy that it took two weeks to dry but if but if you look closely you can see all the colours of the rainbow in there.”


Waste is only waste if it’s wasted. There is more gold in a tonne of mobile phones than there is in a tonne of mined rock from a gold mine, which just goes to show how much we can gain by recovering resources instead of sending them to landfill.


Over the next two years Sophie’s project The Great Recovery will be running a number of design residencies in waste and recovery facilities around the UK to kickstart creative innovation for end-of-life materials. There may be money in those mounds of trash.

Join the world’s biggest celebration of our brilliant planet and sign up for Earth Hour on 29 March at 8.30 pm.

You can buy this poster from Easyart as an A2 print (59 x 42 cm) on sustainably-sourced paper using water-based inks for £14.95. Please follow the link to be taken to the Easy Art site. Proceeds go to the Do The Green Thing charity to help sustain the service we provide.


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