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 email@example.com
Garage Sale Trail
Garage Sale Trail is a nation-wide festival of garage sales that aims to save goods from landfill by passing them onto new owners. Run every year in November, you can get involved by attending a garage sale and purchasing someone else's pre-loved goods, or by hosting your own garage sale. It's free to register and you get tips, support and promotional materials to help you be successful.
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.
St Kilda Mums provides a service to donate your time or children's toys, clothing, games among other things! They also have sister organisations accross Australia which you can see here: Sister Organisations.
Second Chance Toys have been operational since 2010 and provide a unique service in this market by collecting donated second-hand toys that we clean and offer to in-need community groups around NSW. The toys that are donated to us are kept out of landfill and go on to enrich the lives of other children. There's a drop off at 42-46 Camden St, Penrith NSW 2750
Big W in conjunction with TerraCycle have started the Toys For Joy program, which accepts pre-loved toys to be recycled.
We Care Connect at Wyong collects prams, car seats, cots, bassinets, very good quality clothing for new babies through to teenagers, and source new nappies, gifts, toys, craft items, etc. and distribute to families in need on the Central Coast from Gosford to the Hunter Valley.
There are many bicycle reuse groups around the country. It's likely that the groups operating in your area are listed on Give Now, which lists some bicycle reuse groups and also has a page of contacts for charitable organisations that accept bicycles but don't necessarily repair them.
Bicycles For Humanity collects bicycles for donating to developing countries. They have chapters in Victoria and WA.
Bikes4Life collects & restores bicycles for donating to Australians who need them. They have branches in Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne.
Revolve ReCYCLING is a Sydney-based organisation that accepts unwanted bikes, e-bikes, e-scooters, and other Personal Transport Vehicles (PTVs) for repair and recycling.
Brainwave Bikes is a second-hand bike store in Melbourne that repairs and refurbishes bikes. The organisation is a social enterprise that uses its profits to fund Brainwave Australia, a charity that supports childen with brain injury and illness and their families. Bike donations are accepted with various drop-off locations around Melbourne.
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.
Beauty & Make-Up
David Jones has launched BeautyCycle, a specialised beauty packaging recycling program available at participating David Jones beauty departments. The program accepts various skincare and haircare beauty products including empty plastic and glass bottles, pumps, jars, tubes, and cosmetics such as lipsticks, eyeliner, mascara and foundation.
Priceline stores in conjunction with TerraCycle have started a make-up packaging recycling program, which accepts empty make-up containers via specialised in-store recycling bins.
Close The Loop in partnership with Mac Cosmetics have started the Back to Mac program, which accepts empty glass and plastic make up containers and packaging for recycling in-store.
West Welcome Wagon delivers second hand furniture, household goods and whitegoods to asylum seekers in the western suburbs of Melbourne. To make a donation please email firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a collection. Items may also be delivered to our warehouse.
Sunshine West, Vic, 3020
Computer and Mobile Phone Reuse/Refurbish
The Recycling Near You and Business Recycling websites allow you to search for organisations that recycle and/or refurbish computers in your area (use Recycling Near You for household quantities and Business Recycling for larger, commercial quantities). On this page, however, we've listed just the community groups (often not-for-profit) that 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).
- 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).
- Asylum Seeker Centre accepts second-hand laptops, tablets and phones, which will be passed onto people seeking asylum in Australia.
- The Reconnect Project is a charity and social enterprise that refurbishes donated mobile phones, tablets, computers and other electrical appliances to donate to people in need.
- The Tech Shed accepts IT equipment, functional or not.
- The Wanneroo Community Men’s Shed accepts second-hand computers for reuse, refurbishment and recycling. The computers, once refurbished, are for sale at affordable prices to Centrelink recipients, charity organisations and non-profit organisations. Men's Shed is a non-profit organisation accessible to all men that aims to advance the health and well-being of the members and to encourage greater social inclusion through participating in community activities.
- Steps Group Australia (QLD) - call them on 1300 078 377
- Computerbank Victoria in Melbourne accepts donations of all brands of clean (not damaged) laptops and tablets suitable for refurbishment and reuse.
- Melbourne-based social enterprise Enable accept both working and non-working computer equipment for refurbishment and recycling. They accept small and large quanities of computers, printers, monitors, and computer accessories from businesses, corporations, governments, and not-for-profits. Equipment that has been refurbished is sold through their online store, In the Click, which provides work and education to disadvantaged jobseekers.
- The St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) in Victoria has launched the volunteer-run Green Sparks program to give quality electrical goods a second life. Victorians wanting to donate functioning computers can take them to a participating Vinnies during opening hours where they will be tested by trained staff.
The Make A Wish Foundation has clothing bins in many Westfield malls in VIC and NSW that accept wearable garments.
Clothing Cleanup offers a pick-up service within Sydney for wearable clothing, shoes, handbags, accessories (including hats, belts, scarves) and manchester.
High End Hammy downs is a matching app/website for your kids hand-me-down clothes. Swap, give or receive kids clothes for free.
Rebel Sport & The Australian Sporting Goods Association have launched the Save Our Soles program, which accepts old sneakers and sports shoes with in-store collection at Rebel.
Dress for Success accepts quality women's clothing and accessories (hand bags, shoes, and jewellery) that are suitable for job interviews or the workplace. Donated clothes will help women in need thrive in a job interview or other important life event. Dress for Success operates in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart, and Adelaide.
Fashion retailers or wholesalers can donate brand-new clothing to Thread Together. One third of new clothing goes from factory to landfill. Thread Together saves new clothing from landfill by passing it on to those in need.
Search for specific items or materials for donation to charitable organisations nationwide:
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 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.
- Reverse Garbage (Marrickville, Sydney)
- Reverse Garbage (Woolloongabba, Brisbane)
- Reverse Art Truck (Ringwood, Melbourne)
- REmida Creative Reuse Centre (West Perth)
- The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre Co-operative (Marrickville, Sydney) collects and repairs donated household goods then resells them.
- Zero Waste Network is an open network of organisations or individuals committed to reducing waste, creating jobs, strengthening communities and social enterprise.
- Repair Cafes are free meeting places that are all about repairing things (together).
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.
GreenCollect in VIC offers office cleanouts and accept a wide range of stationery for reuse. View details here.
Endeavour Foundation may take some office stationery, most of its outlets are in QLD. Please contact them directly for details.
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 Guide for everything you need to know to organise your event.
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.