RUDE on Recycling and Rhetoric

“The values we live by are worth more when we pass them on.”  Author of Foundations of a Better Life

Today RUDE Girl finally realised that what RUDE does is definitely frugal.  We re-use and re-purpose.  We make do and mend.  We are NOT modern-day upcyclers.  We were the children of menders and repairers.  There was no excess of stuff to be frivolous with, in order to satisfy creative desire.

This article on upcycling is definitely NOT what we do, and we do not aspire to do our recycling in this manner.  We hope if you are conflicted about what it is you do, in relation to the type of re-cycling you undertake, then this article will clarify it for you.

For this week’s frugal Friday blog post, we just want to share a few scrapbook moments.  It’s a little glimpse into what we have been doing.  It’s very cold in Melbourne, Australia so RUDE being homebodies tend to hibernate at home and potter around.

Yesterday we did venture out to visit RUDE boy’s father in hospital.  He’s 86 years of age and undergoing surgery.  On the way home we stopped in a rest area behind some shops, to have our BYO refreshments, and RUDE boy just could not help but look through a pile of rubbish [photo below].

And yes, he found a few bits and pieces that he salvaged for possible future projects.  You can see the blue vacuum cleaner in the foreground.  He cut the cord off and took the clips and base.  He found some handles that he unscrewed from a security screen door.


RUDE Boy loves a good scavenge through a pile of rubbish.


Struggling ratepayers dealing with rate increases above CPI, foot hefty cost for three council officials to attend a conference in Mexico.

Many of you will know that RUDE is an avid activist on many issues related to recycling but also on global and local issues that we feel passionate about.  We advocate by making commentary and/or opinion on many issues, and we post widely.  This weather keeps us indoors, and what better way to be ageing activists than to have our say from the comfort of our armchairs.

This week just passed,  this article [above] in our local newspaper was featured, and we had to get our frugal heads around it. We initially thought it was a joke not a junket.

RUDE lives a frugal lifestyle to help ensure we can pay our ever-increasing costs of living, including municipality rates.  Cost of living in Melbourne, Australia is one of the highest in the world.  We get disgusted by some of the wasteful ways of our local council. This is evidenced by, in our view, an ignorant and self entitled organisation sending not one, but three officials to Mexico to spin and spruik at the 2nd Global Network of Learning Cities Conference. 

Anyways, moving on from unfairness and an overseas junket, to lack of transparency in relation to donations to charities.  This week we posted about how we have been getting all these donation bags stuffed into our letter box.  Four in a week is telling us something is not quite right in charitable land. 

We suspect private recyclers are paying charities money to use their names on these bags, but that the donations are going anywhere but our local charity shops.  We believe from what we have read, and have been told, that private recyclers are making money on-selling the donations to merchants that ship textiles overseas.

We suspect, many people donating are thinking that their local charity shops are being stocked from their goodwill.  Our understanding is that a vast amount is being shipped to third world countries.  This can have devastating effects on local tailoring and textile manufacturing industries in these countries.


Four plastic bags in a week shoved into RUDE’S letterbox. A bag for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

To end on a lighter and more positive note, I thought I would share a photo of stuff we bought before our landfill scavenger days. The old wardrobe and trunk came from charity shops.  From memory we paid $25 for the robe and $20 for the trunk.  The mat covering the trunk was purchased for $5 from a garage sale. 

And like I said at the start of this blog we do not upcycle .  We immediately reuse what goes into our home.  The wardrobe is a storage cupboard for RUDE boys electrical bits and bobs, a step-ladder and vacuum cleaner.  The trunk stores winter curtains during summer and summer curtains during winter. Everything in the robe and trunk is from landfill.


RUDE decor is secondhand, and all about immediate reuse and practical function.

Beat The Man and pass on your frugal tips and tricks for a better life.  Stick it to The Man when fairness is forgotten or ignored.  Refuse to vote for The Man who is self-indulgent.


9 thoughts on “RUDE on Recycling and Rhetoric

  1. Good work Karen. Yes, we know that there are many middle men when it comes to selling on clothes in Africa. Profit is made all along the way. If you havn’t seen a documentary, I’ll see if I can find it again (BBC)


    • Hello Amelia!! Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts on this topic. If and when you come across the doco I would love to get a link to it. Have you been re-creating with textiles?


  2. You are right about the clothing going overseas. Our local op shop only puts about a quarter of what comes in into the shop the rest is shipped out. If the manager doesn’t like it out it goes. And prices are such that the people that need help cant afford it.


    • Hello there Marion. Thank you for posting your experiences. I volunteered in an op shop that did exactly what you are describing. I chose not to be involved and left after a very short time. Prices are becoming pricey too. I noticed you can buy a pack of three cotton tea towels in target for $2. In some of the larger opportunity [charity] shops, I have seen tea towels at $3.50 each!!


  3. Hello Rude….love this little blog. Im with you totally re the faddy upcycling versus frugality. I read that article and all it says to me is that there are many people on that band wagon these days. I like the authenticity behind genuine frugality and see it as an honest approach to real anti consumerism. My fear in the ‘upcycling’ approach is that people are just redirecting their desires for accumulation and materialism. Not that restoring/recreating things a bad thing to do…but i do believe everyone needs to really examine their motivations behind the
    approach. Perhaps its a generational thing too as im just old enough to temember ‘ saving ‘ important things like lacky bands, newspapers and buttons etc.
    I love the challenge of being frugal!! 😊


    • Hi Patricia, great to get your comment. Thank you for taking the time to post. I love that you love our little blog +++

      Yes faddy upcycling, is just that ‘faddy’ and expensive in my experiences which goes against RUDE’S frugality ethos.

      I think your fear is justified with the ‘new’ upcycling trend. I agree it’s great to see stuff re-created but when it becomes elitist, that’s when it fails the make do and mend generation’s test.

      I am glad you love the challenge of being frugal. Why? Another like-minded soul on this Earth is always a good thing.


  4. Urgh, really?! Both for the Mexico trip and the recycle bags. I won’t be using them again (not that I’ve seen those up here I must say).

    Is it called recycling or upcycling to turn old bedsheets into new cloths for the kids and I? Whatever it’s called, that’s what we do. 🙂

    What Rude Boy does is what we call Wombling. My hubby is a pretty good wombler when the mood takes him too. 🙂

    Love your blog. 🙂


    • Hi rabidlittlehippy! RUDE always looks forward to your comments. Yes, the Mexico bound Council officials issue has caused a bit of a community uproar this week in the local papers. RUDE Girl wrote in and my comment was published.

      Your old sheets into kids’ clothes is definitely upcycling [or refashioning, if you prefer]. If the sheets were to become rags that would be termed downcycling. Upcycling and downcycling are both recycling. Whatever it is called, RUDE admires that you do iit +++

      I love the term wombling. How did you come by it? It’s great you have a rabbidlittlehubbie that is a good wombler.

      I love that you love our blog. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

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