Recycling Near You - Community Recycling Initiatives

Community Reuse Initiatives

Community Reuse Initiatives  

Community reuse organisations are as diverse as their materials and users. They all offer excellent opportunities to reuse resources and most offer other great benefits as well - perhaps fulfilling a social enterprise role or helping volunteers to learn new upcycling skills. This page contains information on some community reuse initiatives. If you know of an initiative which isn't listed here, please let us know by emailing recycling@planetark.org

Child items - from prams to toys

Kindershare is an online portal for parents to rent out equipment that won't be in use for more than a few months to up to a year or two. Items vary from prams to toys to portacots.

Toy Libraries Australia has over 280 libraries around the country providing local families a range of quality fun and educational toys, games, puzzles and activities to borrow or hire.

Bicycle Reuse/Repair/Refurbish

There are many bicycle reuse groups around the country. It's likely that the groups operating in your area are listed on the following website:

  • Give Now lists some bicycle reuse groups and also has a page of contacts for charitable organisations that accept bicycles but don't necessarily repair them.

Book Swap Schemes

Book swaps are a great opportunity to find a great read on the cheap! Many local councils or organisations organise their own book swaps, so keep an eye out.  You can also use online book swap forums - see the Online Forums for Giving, Receiving or Trading Goods page.

Bag Share Schemes

Bag share schemes are a fantastic way to reduce the need for plastic shopping bags. If you forget your reusable shopping bags, pick one up from a participating store and return it later. You can also donate any excess reusable shopping bags that you may have.

Some councils in Australia have implemented bag share schemes. Visit their websites for information about where to pick up and drop off bags.

Boomerang Bags works to reduce the use of plastic bags by engaging local communities in the making of Boomerang Bags community made using recycled materials, Boomerang Bags provide a free, fun, sustainable alternative to plastic bags.

Computer Reuse/Refurbish

The RecyclingNearYou and BusinessRecycling websites allows you to search for organisations (both businesses and community groups) who recycle and/or refurbish computers in your area. On this page, however, we've listed just the community groups (often not-for-profit) who refurbish and reuse computers.

These organisations refurbish computers in good condition and will give or sell them cheaply to people experiencing disadvantage. Many do this as part of a training/employment program. If you are considering donating your unwanted computer to any of these organisations, check to see what requirements they may have (e.g. regarding computer type, age, capacity etc).

NSW

  • WorkVentures - refurbishes donated computers and makes them available to their diverse community of seniors, students, migrants and CentreLink clients
  • Computers For Young and Old (Jamisontown, NSW)

QLD

VIC

Clothing

The Make A Wish Foundation has clothing bins in many Westfield malls in VIC and NSW that accept unwearable garments and are passed onto King Cotton Australia.

Clothing Cleanup offers a pick-up service within Sydney for wearable clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories (including hats, belts, scarves) and manchester.

Donation Websites

Sell your unwanted items and donate a % to Planet Ark with Charitizer

Search for specific items or materials for donation to charitable organisations nationwide:

Mattresses

Soft Landings is a national social enterprise operating across NSW, ACT, VIC and WA, owned by Resource Recovery Australia. They divert waste mattresses from landfill and recover the components to recycle.

They offer employment opportunities for people who experience barriers entering the open labour market.

A number of other companies also provide mattress recycling options - to search for one in your area, go to BusinessRecycling and enter your location details.

Reuse Centres

Reuse Centres are generally either community-based not-for-profit organsiations or 'tip shops'.  They are great places too look for just about anything, including materials used in arts, crafts, home renovations and education.  Some reuse centres also run educational workshops.

To find a reuse centre in your area, go to the homepage of RecyclingNearYou,  type your council name into the search box and press 'Search'. You'll be taken to your council's page. At the bottom left-hand corner, under the 'Pass It On' section, you'll see a link to 'Reuse Centres' if there is a listing in your local government area. If there are no listings in your area, check out the below organisations which may still be at a convenient distance to you.

Stationery Reuse

Having a system to reuse stationery within your workplace or organisation is often very easy to achieve, yet very effective in reducing unnecessary consumption. It can be as simple as designating a particular cupboard as the stationery cupboard, and asking staff to move any excess stationery away from their desks and into the stationery cupboard for other people to find and use. Keeping your stationery cupboard neat also helps because you won't lose track of any items.

The University of New South Wales (Kensington, Sydney) has established a Stationery Reuse Centre that accepts donations of unwanted stationery and provides it free to students and staff. Check their website or contact them to find out what types of stationery they accept.

Swap Parties

Swap parties can be a great way to get new stuff without it costing the earth! A swap party is an event where participants bring good quality items they no longer want and exchange them for other items that other people have brought. 

To find a swap party near you, keep an eye out in your local newspaper, council newsletter or community notice board, especially in November for National Recycling Week. Public swap parties can be listed on our National Recycling Week Events page.

If you would like to host your own swap party, check out Planet Ark's Swap Party pages for everything you need to know to organise your event.

Other Resources

Below are community recycling initiatives you could start in your area:

Start your own reuse centre with the guidance of the Community Recycling Network Australia. Reduce waste to landfill and provide sustainable employment and training to local residents.

Start a Community Garden to turn food and garden waste into valuable compost. Provide a space for learning how to grow your own fruit, vegetables and herbs.