The Australian waste crisis has become a public concern, as 42% of recycled waste ends up in landfill, with the public largely oblivious to such environmental impacts.

Large-scale facilities have had limited success in addressing the ongoing crisis, in part due to a lack of visibility and engagement in the recycling process among the public.

This project challenges current recycling facilities with a bottom-up approach that offers opportunities for active public participation in recycling.

The architecture focuses on modular scaffolding elements to inform human-scale recycling processes and architectural components created from recycled materials.

To connect the public with the impact of urban waste production while cultivating waste recycling communities, the project advances a speculative proposition that reimagines Melbourne’s laneways and public spaces as ‘Machines for Public Recycling’.

Chun Yu Ng is a 2022 graduate from The University of Melbourne’s Master of Architecture. Beginning with an interest in art and Malaysian politics, his journey in architecture has been animated by his passion for the architecture of change in relation to social and environmental issues.

He believes that public awareness of global crises can be realised through architecture that supports radical conversation, political change, and collective empowerment.

The project questions the public’s role in waste recycling by supporting the public’s visibility of, and interaction with, architecture that exposes the impact of waste on the environment.

Effective public involvement begins with small yet impactful steps. Human-scale interaction with waste recycling becomes a fulcrum for creating communities that generate positive impact in our urban environment. BIG CHANGE STARTS SMALL.