Sr Lyn Raftery rsj

As the daughter of parents brought up in the Depression years and as part of a young post war family whose income was very basic it is part of my DNA to not waste anything.

Recycling is something to which I am naturally drawn. When the Sisters of Saint Joseph changed from traditional habits to wearing ordinary street clothes I chose to make or buy clothes from natural fibres – cotton, linen, wool and rayon rather than synthetic. I find these fabrics more comfortable to wear and they are better for the environment when disposed.

In 1995 I made a patchwork overcoat out of the scraps taken from my mother’s sewing cupboard. She was a dressmaker and had many pieces of woollen fabric left over from when she made clothes for us children and herself. As I selected the pieces that I would use I was reminded by my mother what garment was made from that fabric. I calculated that some of the fabric was 50 years old at the time of giving it new life.

Sr Lyn wearing her overcoat.

For the last 25 years as part of my ministry I have been responsible for recycling furniture and household items which have come from convents or houses that the Sisters of Saint Joseph have vacated. These items have been stored and used when setting up house for a sister moving into unfurnished accommodation or donated to any needy person on request.

We are fortunate that our local council (Burwood in Sydney) is part of the Recycle Smart program. Each month someone calls and collects two shopping bags of unwanted goods that we leave at our front door. This is a free service designed to keep goods out of landfill. I signed up in November 2022 and since then have encouraged six other houses in our Croydon complex to be part of the program.

Goods collected included soft plastics, clothes and textiles in any condition, e-waste and other small household items. Arrangements can also be made (at a small cost) for the collection of bigger items that will not fit into a shopping bag.

For more Showing Off inspiration visit – Soft Plastics Campaign 2023