Our future is bright

Mayor Darcy Byrne has announced that Inner West Council will convert their Summer Hill depot into a reuse centre as part of their commitment to become a national leader in sustainability.

We’ve been invited to be a part of this initiative, along with The Bower and other like-minded organisations, when our lease here at Addison Road Community Centre ends in January 2022.

Just to be clear, any move to a new location is at least 12 months off.

Marrickville, in Sydney’s Inner West, has been our home since we began in the mid-1970s so it’s understandable that the announcement has stirred up a mix of emotions throughout our community and our team.

2020-2030 strategy

Despite COVID-19, we are in a strong position to confidently plan ahead. We are trading well and we are financially sound, but of course there has been a COVID impact.

Our diligent Board and management have been prudently planning for our future, after the end of our lease.  Our 10-year strategy is underpinned with positivity and hopefulness to build on our legacy of reuse, which has significant environmental and social impacts.

We have committed to ensuring that Reverse Garbage continues to be the beloved organisation it is, for many years to come. And as we’ve proven even during the turbulent times of COVID-19, we will thrive whatever comes our way.

RG is almost 50!
Our 50th birthday is fast approaching and we’re starting to plan a celebration. Scan through your photos and send us some pics of your experiences here. Scroll through your memory bank and share your stories of your first visit, best find, most interesting reuse project, what you’ve learnt here, who you introduced you to us… everything is a part of our journey.

Send your photos and stories to comms@reversegarbage.org.au

Our COVID-19 journey…so far
We are riding the wave of COVID-19 along with the community. Whatever you’ve needed, we’ve found a way to help.

Health and hygiene were the first priority
When others closed for lockdown, we were determined to stay open. This decision was validated by a call to help with the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment for medical professionals. Using resources that had been donated when they no longer held purpose for their original owners, our community of volunteers made over 2000 face shields, which were distributed across Sydney and beyond, even as far as Katherine, NT.

Nurses grateful for the face shields made by Reverse Garbage volunteers

This turned out to be the perfect case study for why we exist, why we spread the message of choosing to reuse, and it inspired generosity of many including a Family Foundation, QBE Foundation, The Awesome Foundation and our own wonderful community.

Kirsten modelling our prototype mask

We are now making face masks for vulnerable people in our community – the homeless via City of Sydney, visitors to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit via volunteer group, Little Wonders.

Reuse acrylic protecting the canteen goodies

Necessity is the mother of invention…and creativity. Our reuse resources have been used to help distribute hand sanitiser to those without. Budget friendly acrylic offcuts have been used for screens at shops and school canteens. Barrels have been blinged to make fancy hand sanitising stations. 

Next came your homes
When homes became the catchall for work, school, leisure, entertainment, we provided innovative and affordable reuse solutions for workstations, stationery, soundproofing, and decoration.

When the backyard became the playground, we curated Barrels of Fun and Barrels of STEM to keep the kids interested, busy and entertained.

What to do with your spare time
Once the community had their homefronts sorted, we then noticed the crafting wave hit. Those who weren’t caught up in the resurgence of baking fresh bread, were looking to use for creative inspiration on a budget.

During some periods, Cong, our Sendle driver, was our most frequent visitor, collecting trolley loads of parcels to be delivered across the country. 

We provided many resources for sewing, home décor, upcycling….. and even a spectacular wedding!

Schools reopen
We felt the collective sigh of relief when schools reopened. It took the pressure off the homefront, but put it back on educators who had been forced to adapt and soldier through lockdown.

We were started by teachers, and education is a key focus of what we do. Restrictions mean we aren’t allowed to run excursions or incursions in some places, so we adapted and found other ways we could support our wonderful educators. We can still provide resources, STEM challenges, Zoom workshops. If you have an idea, contact our education team and we’ll do what we can to help make it happen.

We are still able to run COVID-safe holiday workshops for age 7 – 16, and adult workshops too. Check them all out here.

We’re also running team bonding workshops – online or in real life. What better way to catch up than to learn a creative skill that’s new to everyone?! 

RG reimagined
As for organisations of all shapes and sizes, COVID-19 has forced change. As a not for profit, self-funded charity, Reverse Garbage has had to refocus some of our energy, readdress our community’s needs, and reimagine ourselves.

While we have enjoyed meeting many new customers, we are missing our customers and communities like Mardi Gras, VIVID and Sydney Festival, and the many festivals, theatres and film crews that prop shop here. We also miss the artists and creatives who have no exhibitions, religious and community groups who have no events, and students and educators who are not able to run excursions. We look forward to welcoming you all back when restrictions are lifted.

Thank you
If the Mayor’s announcement caused you any concern over the future of your beloved Reverse Garbage, we hope these examples of our agility and stability put your mind at ease.
We have so much more to do: more people to educate, more kilos to divert from landfill, more lives to change. And we can’t do it without you.
We thank you for continuing to support us – whether that is by shopping, donating, or volunteering.

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