by Philippa Riddiford

I was delighted when I was commissioned by the organization Green Collect to design an eye-catching colourful abstract mural for the exterior of their refurbished headquarters and retail outlet on Ashley St in Braybrook, Melbourne.

I have designed murals working with different councils in Melbourne and I’ve always found them stimulating projects to work on.

Green Collect is an organisation I have always admired so I was very happy to help them attract customers to their new refurbished premises. It is the initiative of Sally Quinn and Darren Andrews; two highly respected members of the local community.

Green Collect is a social enterprise that cares deeply for people and the planet. With a vision to create a world without waste, they focus on resource recovery, collecting items from offices and homes that are at risk of being sent to landfill and carefully sorting them to find their best environmental outcome. 

Through this environmental work they are able to provide a supportive workplace to people who have faced barriers to employment.

In 2019, Green Collect was awarded the “Social Enterprise of the Year” in the small enterprise category by the national organisation, Social Traders.

Green Collect has created a supportive and flexible workplace that allows people to gain and maintain work through some of life’s most difficult circumstances. Their teams include people who have previously experienced barriers to employment – including homelessness, cultural exclusion or refugee status – giving them opportunities for long-term, stable work. 

Their clients include local councils, businesses, and government departments. From small local businesses to international corporations, all are concerned with reducing waste and supporting employment opportunities. Green Collect provides the means through which our customers can meet their own social and environmental goals through the resource recovery of waste office items. 

Their work is much more than just picking up materials and taking them away to a different coloured bin. They approach the complex problem of waste with innovation, creativity and perseverance, modelling their business on the circular economy of the ecosystem, where all resources are repurposed and nothing becomes waste.

Now focused on office waste, the organisation services more than 200 businesses across Melbourne, finding the best environmental outcome for items commonly thought of as waste.

From folders to fold-back clips, electronics to expired letterhead, computers to cartridges, the Green Collect team processed an astounding 125 tonnes of waste last year, all diverted from landfill.  

Their retail store in Yarraville opened in 2009, and the Braybrook store in 2016 providing an essential step of the circular environmental process – providing a ‘next life’ for the thousands of items they sort every week.

At the onset of Covid 2 years ago, one of the main gallery outlets who sold my artworks in Melbourne closed its physical store so I decided to go local and make my artworks as limited edition prints available at Post Industrial Design in West Footscray. I work in with Mary who is very supportive to creatives in the Inner West.

With the Covid situation affecting all of us in some way, I was at home more than usual. I am fortunate in that I work from home so I was able to spend a lot more time creating new artworks, which of course I loved. 

I realised that in order to keep selling and remain active as an artist during this challenging time, I had to increase the amount of promotion I was doing. 

The obvious one for me was to up my usage of Instagram; an excellent platform for creatives as it gives one worldwide exposure. It is also free! It allows conversations between artists and those interested in looking at or purchasing works. It keeps one up to date with the art world in general and is a lot of fun.

I would suggest all artists subscribe to Instagram for these reasons. 

A good comprehensive website is a must as well; with good photos of one’s artworks for sale and interesting stories, news of what one is doing/done etc.

My parting words to artists are: Never give up, practice every day and you will be amazed at how your work progresses.

Philippa is a professional contemporary digital artist living and working in West Footscray. She has a comprehensive background in fashion and design both in New Zealand and here in Australia.  

She currently works with interior designers here and overseas and has two artworks in the National Gallery of Australia  (NGA) in Canberra and other public and private collections. 

See for more information about her artworks and practice.




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