The City of Burnside is committed to reducing the amount of waste we send to landfill by encouraging re-use, repair and sharing.
According to the Gumtree Second Hand Economy Report, 89% of Australian households have unwanted items and some people throw them in the bin. That is a huge waste of resources. With recent increases to the waste levy, throwing useful items in your waste bin is more than a waste of resources, it's also an unnecessary cost that puts pressure on ratepayers through their Council rates.
You can give your unwanted items a second life and reduce waste going to landfill by using items again, sharing them with friends, donating them to op shops, selling them online or holding a garage sale.
What is re-use?
Re-using items simply means making sure they can be used repeatedly (by you or by someone else). The item, or parts of it, may also be repurposed to make something new.
Re-use is different from recycling. Recycling is the process of converting used materials into new materials and typically involves breaking down the used materials into their raw components.
There are many benefits of re-use. Reducing the demand for new items reduces the demand on valuable and limited natural resources, such as oil, fuel, timber and water. A reduction in production also lessens pollution and minimises the pressure of resource extraction on natural areas, like forests and rivers.
The benefits continue as a product is used. Using products for longer reduces our demand for landfill and the incineration of waste. This disposal of waste is a costly exercise that puts pressure on Council rates, so keep things going rather than prematurely throwing them away.
Re-use is good for everyone; you can:
- Save money by buying second hand, which is often much cheaper than buying new.
- Make money by selling your unwanted items at a garage sale or online.
- Contribute to your local community by donating items to local op shops and re-use organisations.
How to re-use
Charities and op shops
Charities and op shops are a great option for clothing, accessories and books that are in good condition. Find your nearest op shop here. Some organisations will pick up quality unwanted household furniture. For example, Salvage and Save accepts drop-offs and can arrange pick-ups.
Before donating goods consider these important tips:
- Quality is important. Ask yourself whether you would give the item to a friend. If not, it's probably not suitable for a charity to sell.
- Visit the op shop during opening hours and leave items with the op shop staff. Items left on the kerbside often get damaged and charities face large clean up fees.
Items you no longer want can be sold online on marketplaces like Gumtree, eBay, Trading Post or Freecycle. Things that sell well include furniture, home decor, gardening and sporting equipment, but a vast range of items can sell online.
Have a garage sale
Hosting a garage sale is a great way to declutter your home and allow for the re-use items you no longer need. If you've never hosted a garage sale before or would simply like some extra publicity for your sale, you can get involved in Garage Sale Trail.
Garage Sale Trail is a giant festival or re-use that sees thousands of garage sales all taking place on the same weekend across Australia. Participation is free plus you get access to free promotional materials and support to help your sale be as successful as possible. Find out more at www.garagesaletrail.com.au or get involved in the Council's Garage Sale Trail event (2019). Call Council on 8366 4200 to find out more.
The best way to reduce waste is to stop buying and using products that are not durable, re-usable or repairable. Some ideas:
- Bring a re-usable mug to the coffee shop. Some cafes offer discounts for using a re-usable takeaway cup! Visit responsiblecafes.org to see which ones. It is estimated Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year.
- Use non-disposable water bottles. They are available in stainless steel, plastic and glass with many great designs and colours.
- Use re-usable shopping bags instead of plastic. Choose ones made from bamboo, jute, recycled PET (plastic) or organic cotton. Australian consumers currently use 3.92 billion plastic bags each year.
- Bring re-usable take-out containers with you to restaurants. Visit trashlesstakeaway.com.au to see which ones.
- There are many convenient re-usable food packaging items for kids and adults to ensure their lunches are waste free.
- Re-use containers and other materials for storage and crafts.
- Find new homes for clothing and linens, or use them for rags, patchwork and other projects.
- Use cloth nappies as they are better for the environment, with great designs and are easy to use and clean.
- Refurbish and repurpose old furniture into new masterpieces or donate to charity.
- Wrapping paper can be re-used to wrap another present and newspaper can also be used for wrapping and packaging. Single sided printed paper can be printed again on the other side, or used for note pads.
- Donate toys to charity or give them to other children in your family or to friends. Buy, swap or sell preloved toys or utilise your local Toy Library. Visit the one at Burnside. See burnside.sa.gov.au for more information.
- If something is broken, repair it! If you need help, there are repair groups forming around Adelaide. For example the Adelaide Repair Cafe or the Unley Repair Cafe.
- For more information on items to re-use go to: whichbin.sa.gov.au or for more ideas visit: www.garagesaletrail.com.au/blog/your-really-good-guide-to-reuse-1