Radiant & Recycled in Ruins

“A sustainable lifestyle can look different to everyone”


There is a castle ruin that is not well-known but very, very old. Saying this place is special to me personally, is a massive understatement. Some of the biggest moments of my life happened here. My husband asked me out here, my wedding was here, and coming to this castle is one of the first memories I have as a child growing up in Germany.

Model by Joy Casey
Photo by Milaya C Photography

One day I sat back and thought, “How old are these ruins?”, well the answer is almost a 1,000 years old. I started to think of its value to me during my life and quickly inferred that my entire lifetime would be just a blink in the aspect of time to these ruins.

Model by Joy Casey
Photo by Milaya C Photography

These ruins have stood the test of time. All of the wars, plagues, and people have come and gone but it is still here. Time is something that humans often judge within their own lifetime. Sure, we know what our history books say about what happened 200, 500, or 1,000 years ago, but we do not feel it personally.

Model by Joy Casey
Photo by Milaya C Photography

Not so long ago, I came across a statistic that really did make me stop. A plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to deteriorate. Now listen, I don’t want to lose you here. This article was not written to shame people who use plastic.

I wanted to write this to draw a line from a long-standing physical reminder of a castle that is very aged, to something we toss away without a thought.

Model by Joy Casey
Photo by Milaya C Photography

To do this, we took 26 plastic grocery bags and made a completely wearable skirt with them. For accessories, we cut up toilet paper rolls and strung them together with ethically harvested wool yarn for her arm band and necklace. All of the leftover materials were recycled.

Model by Joy Casey
Photo by Milaya C Photography

A sustainable lifestyle can look different to everyone. It can be installing solar panels on your roof. It can be choosing to recycle even though it might not be easy where you live. It can be that you avoid disposable straws, Ziplocks, or paper plates. It can be a vegetarian lifestyle. It can also be that you use your own bags at the grocery store.

Not everyone is going to be able to fit their entire year of waste in a mason jar. And that is okay! But remember that the decisions we make now, have the ability to affect what happens in the next millennium, is not something to take lightly.

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