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Family’s recycling tradition shared with community

 

JULIA WADE

Bob and Lesley Willis-577Artists and visitors spending time in the near future at Mangawhai Artists Inc (MAI) new gallery extension, will be kept ‘in a warm community space for decades to come’ MAI chair Mary-Anne Boyd says, thanks to a kind gift of new walls and insulation from a local textile company.

Made from recycled materials, Bob Willis and wife Lesley donated the recycled insulation made with 65 per cent wool, from their family-owned Auckland-based company, Textile Products.

The recycling business was first established in Wellington by Bob’s grandfather in 1937 before the company moved to Auckland in 1960 and passed down the family line to Bob, the fourth generation of textilers. The company make a range of recycled textile products including furniture blankets and 100 per cent recycled wool liners for My Food Bag.

“Our thing is trying to stop waste going into landfill,” Bob says. “We actually started recycling waste from the carpet industry. Instead of dumping we thought ‘let’s convert it into insulation!’”

“We are always thinking and looking for new ways to repurpose, and create something more sustainable,” adds Lesley.

Although work-wise the couple are based in Auckland, they live their weekends mainly in Mangawhai and even have a live webcam on their webpage ensuring they always have ‘an eye on the Heads’.

With both interior and exterior painting nearly complete, power supply in progress and a kitchenette and accessible toilet installed ‘kindly enabled’ by Mangawhai Opportunity Factory, the art gallery’s extension is nearing completion Boyd says.

13 MF-Ecoinsulation2-715“An inexpensive floor cover to meet council compliance requirements is one of the last things we need to resolve, and we hope to apply for final compliance in coming weeks and open the new space in early September.”

 

Bob and Lesley Willis, of Textile Products, donated the recycled insulation. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A warm, dry space will greet visitors and artists in the gallery’s new room, thanks to a gift of recycled insulation. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


 
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