Why it's more important than ever - Barbara Gill
Something tells me that you’ve heard about the recent Chinese ban on recycling imports. No? Well, now might be the time to crawl back under that rock.
Australians send an average of 619,000 tonnes of material to China every year. With the recent ban on these imports, there has been much talk about the need for Australia to catch up and firmly jump on the circular economy bandwagon. We couldn't agree more. But how about we focus our efforts on finding alternatives to recycling too? Sure, recycling is great but it’s also super costly – both from a financial and environmental perspective – and there is a better way.
There's nothing new about reuse
Reuse used to be a way of life for all Australians – from darning socks to “hand me down” threads - but things have changed a lot since then with the advent of fast fashion and plastic coated convenience food and drink.
Reuse can be anything from selling pre-loved items online to swapping with friends and family. It can be about giving an item new life through repair or upcycling or bagging yourself a vintage find at the local op shop. Fundamentally though it’s about challenging our throw-away society and taking the time to think about the waste we generate (and where it's headed) before we buy.
Garage Sale Trail makes a difference
Garage Sale Trail is a council enabled program which sees over 370,000 Australians get involved in a weekend of reuse (garage sales) every year. The program is powered by the actions of every day Australians in communities like yours. And while a single garage sale might not make all that much difference, get 15,000 happening all across the country on one weekend and… BINGO!
In 2017, a report produced by Taverner Research showed that Garage Sale Trail and its partner councils;
Re-distributed 3,687 tonnes of useable items which may otherwise have ended up in landfill
Engaged 370,000 Australians in reuse - some for the first time (71% of sellers note they would not otherwise have had a garage sale)
Increased individuals sense of responsibility for the waste they generate – 69% were more likely to reduce their household waste as a result of participating and 49% learnt that reusing is even better for the planet
What’s exciting is that this change is powered by the community, for the community. In fact on average participants in the program invest a staggering 25 hours in organising and hosting a garage sale – that’s a heck of a big commitment to reuse happening right under our noses.
It's time to choose to choose to reuse With landfill space shrinking and waste disposal becoming more and more costly, now is the time for government, at all levels, to embrace reuse and other alternatives to recycling at the higher end of the waste hierarchy. It’s time to put reuse targets in Federal, State and Local government mandates. It's time to choose to reuse.