Worlds Biggest Garage Sale, Author at WBGS
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Author:Worlds Biggest Garage Sale

Car Free Day

Last month was #worldcarfreeday, an event organised by the World Carfree Network, the hub of the global car-free movement. Every year on or around 22 September, cities across the globe celebrate World Car-Free Day, encouraging motorists to give up their cars for a day.

Photo: Getty Images

With vehicle emissions being one of the main sources of outdoor air pollution, particularly in cities, this is an excellent initiative and one we applaud. Ambient air pollution alone caused some 4.2 million deaths in 2016, according to the World Health Organization.

The World Carfree Network says that the World Car-Free Day can be a showcase for just how our cities might look like, feel like, and sound like without cars… 365 days a year. We couldn’t agree more and to prove it, our family has nearly spent a full year without a car.

When we returned from our family gap year and sold Larry the Landcruiser, we chose not to replace him (it) and opted to try living car-free. Coming up on the one year anniversary of making that decision I thought it would be a good time to report on the experiment.

Firstly I should preface this discussion with the fact that we’re fortunate to live close to most things we need. If you didn’t live in a city and even then, reasonably close to the city centre, the decision to live car-free might be too challenging to consider. After taking this all into account we took the plunge and this is how it panned out.

From a professional standpoint we mostly work from shared office space River City Labs in Fortitude Valley about 6km from home. More recently we’ve been working from our new circular economy pop-up shop in the Wintergarden, but that’s only 8 kms from home. There are two train stations and numerous bus stops within a kilometre of home, so getting to work couldn’t be easier.

We’re less than a kilometre from the school both our daughters attend and we have a mid-sized shopping centre a similar distance away. There’s a fruit market, fish and chippery, pizzeria, bottlo and convenience store even closer, which help to fill in the gaps. The organised sporting activities we do — karate, AFL, tennis and hockey, are all local too.

Whether it’s good management or purely good luck, this all makes living without a car pretty straightforward. In saying that, it’s not always easy, but we’ve made changes to our lives to make it work. Everyone in the family has two feet and a heartbeat and so we’ve been known to walk from time to time. We have bikes for when walking isn’t an option and use buses, trains and ride-sharing services like Uber, Didi and Sheba.

More recently we bought an Inokim electric scooter for each family member. After being regular Lime scooter users upon their introduction, we decided to trial our own e-scooter for a few months. Within weeks we’d decided they were a fun, safe and ecologically friendly transport method and bought another 3; call them our fleet of personal Teslas if you like. E-Scooters are ideal for filling gaps between buses and trains and to get to other forms of transport such as car-sharing services.

 

Car sharing services such as Car Next Door and Go Get are perfect for those moments when nothing other than a car will do. They are slightly different in how they work, but essentially provide the same service — a fleet of cars spread across the city and suburbs that anyone can hire at any time. Whether it’s for an hour or two to run some errands or a full day to visit family or friends outside the public transport grid, both do the job well.

We prefer Car Next Door and use the service a few times a month. This service allows car owners to rent out their car when it’s not in use; it quite literally enables you to borrow your neighbour’s car (if they’re a participant) and because you only pay for what you use, it’s far more cost effective than owning a car. With most cars only being used for about 5% of their lifespan, we see this as a great way for car owners to unlock more of the underutilised value in the asset and to help people who don’t own cars (like us) get easy, low cost, sporadic use of a motor vehicle when required.

We should point out that while the Car Next Door app and it’s alternatives are good for short distances, they aren’t very cost effective for longer journeys. The all-inclusive hourly charge plus per kilometre fee (fuel, insurance, wear & tear) is great if you’re ducking across town and back, but a 200 kilometre round trip will set you back $100 or more, using even the cheapest cars on their books.

For longer trips we use car hire and fortunately there’s an app for that too. Rentalcars.com gets us a small/medium car for a whole weekend for about the same money as a long single trip using a car sharing service. We don’t do it often, but once a quarter or so we’ll arrange to pick up a hire car on a Friday, drop it back on the Monday and only pay around $100 for the privilege. We even get our insurance at about 20% of what the car hirer would charge via another app.

With RACQ citing even the cheapest car ownership costs at $6000 per annum in their 2019 Private Vehicle Expenses Report, we think we’re ahead of the game by a considerable amount. Even if we’re not that far ahead of the game in terms of costs, we know that we are miles ahead in the environmental stakes and given what we do for a living, that feels good.

Our family’s time without a car has certainly been an experience, especially after being reliant on cars since we were in our late teens. Knowing we can survive without a car has been priceless, as I’m not sure car ownership will be the norm going forward. With the huge environmental price the planet pays for car ownership, I think improved public transport networks combined with personal transportation devices such as bikes & e-scooters and car and ride sharing platforms, owning a car will become less and less desirable.

Will not owning a car become the default? While it seems far-fetched today, I no longer think it’s out of the realms of possibility. Take a look at your car inventory and see what you might be able to live without!!

Retail’s new disruptor? The resale market!

We’ve known it was coming for a long time! Watch out fast fashion, second-hand clothing is about to overtake you.

According to Scott Galloway New York University business professor and renowned tech pundit, “The new disrupter in retail, the new gangster that’s going to create hundreds of billions in shareholder value is the second-hand resale market.” And who’s driving it? Young people according to Mr Galloway.

The predicted growth of the secondhand fashion market versus fast fashion. Source: Section4

Yas with one of our first shoppers!!

And this concurs with other research we’ve been finding. The resale apparel industry is growing 21x faster than the standard retail apparel industry (thredUP) and millennials are cashing in. 61% of millennials sold something in the last year, compared to 54% of Gen X and 51% of baby boomers. The number of people selling second hand clothing, homewares, games and toys and electronic goods has doubled since 2011 (Gumtree, SHE report), with clothing, shoes and accessories now the most popular items to sell.

Further research from the US indicates that the second-hand clothing market will grow from $US24 billion ($35.5 billion) in the US in 2018, to $US64 billion by 2028. While fast fashion will continue to grow it won’t be at the same rate – from $US35 billion to $US44 billion in 2028.

Now is the time for businesses to be innovating and providing options for consumers to buy second-hand products. In a survey by Amplify talking to 2000 Australians aged 18 to 30, “1 in 3 felt passionately about the environment and sustainability, demonstrating they are actively trying to tackle this problem.”

34% also believe brands should be leading the way when it comes to saving the Planet, with 4 out of 10 want the brands they buy to make the world better and almost the same want the brands they buy to reflect their values.

And given the success of ‘If The Shoe Fits’, Brisbane’s first Circular Economy Pop-up, in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD at the Wintergarden this Brisbane Fashion Month the research appears to match market demand!

Drop in and visit our friendly team at shop 14 in the Brisbane Wintergarden  for the new circular economy way of shopping – putting your money towards people, planet and purpose!

 

Brisbane’s First Circular Economy Pop-Up

It has been an amazing week — we have made shopping history launching Brisbane’s first Circular Economy Pop-up Shop at the Wintergarden. Complete with a surprise visit from Adrian Schrinner, Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, the support from the Brisbane community has been amazing!! Thank-you Brisbane — we couldn’t imagine a better city to be trialing this innovative shopping model!

Was great to share #iftheshoefits with Adrian Schrinner

‘If The Shoe Fits’ brings together luxury quality at accessible prices with sustainable principles to create a shopping experience that is good for your wallet and good for the planet. We want sustainable shopping to be accessible to everyone, not just a select few.

In the heart of Brisbane’s CBD, this is guilt-free shopping at it’s best. We have hundreds of unique pairs of designer shoes originally retailing at $200+, in every colour and style imaginable. We have inclusive sizing from EU 29–49. The best part? Proceeds from our sales go the amazing Australian charity Good360 Australia.

Good360 is a charity giving businesses the opportunity to donate their spare and excess goods to uplift Australians in need. Whether it’s giving toys to a family violence shelter or notebooks to a school… Good360 is a matchmaker for good between businesses, charities and communities in need.

Visit our friendly team at Shop 14 in Wintergarden Brisbane to have your very own Cinderella moment in-store. More details here.

Declutter your Dormant Goods!

Spring has sprung and we all know that means cleaning out all the old rag-dag winter clothes to make way for a fabulous summer wardrobe. Spring cleaning and decluttering that winter wardrobe can be tricky – it’s hard to know what to keep, what to donate or whether you should really throw out your high school senior jersey that you never wear anymore. You know you should probably throw it out, but the thought of it sitting on a rotting pile of landfill makes your eyes a little watery. 

You wonder how you’re going to get rid of this jumper that’s just taking up space in your cupboard? Will the jumper end up in landfill waste? Will a charity shop take this garment? How do you get rid of something you have an emotional attachment to? All these questions can induce you into an anxiety riddled state, but don’t worry, this article has you sorted!

War on Waste

ABC War on Waste - Craig Reucassel and Fast Fashion!

According to the ABC’s war on waste documentary, “Australia is one of the most wasteful countries in the developed world.” There is a growing culture of convenience, fast fashion and furniture/appliances that are not built to last more than 2-3 years. Australians have developed a throw-away society: 

  • 6000kg of clothes are thrown out every 10 minutes, equating to 36 000kg every hour. 
  • 30% of clothing items end up in landfills and even if you donate old clothes to a charity, if the items are not in good condition, it’s landfill. 
  • The same goes for furniture and appliances. 85% of household items that are put out for the good old kerbside collection end up as landfill and are not recycled.

 

These statistics are daunting, but there are a few rules you can follow to successfully organise your home into different waste types in order to effectively make the most of your spring cleaning efforts, taking into account your contribution to household landfill. 

Declutter your Home

  1. Declutter in Stages: An article by Sirin Kale (The Guardian) advises not to declutter all at once. instead, break up your decluttering into smaller, more manageable goals. Spend 10 minutes a day decluttering or declutter three times a week focusing on different areas. 
  2. Set Measurable Goals: Nicola Lewis, organising expert and author of Mind Over Clutter, (Good Housekeeping UK) also recommends decluttering should be an activity you can enjoy by setting measurable goals. For example I’ll declutter my wardrobe in the month of spring, spending 1hr each week focused on different sections until I’m satisfied.
  3. Get Organised: The next step is to organise the declutter into separate piles to keep things organised. The list below is a great way to start:
    1. Retain 
    2. Repair
    3. Repurpose
    4. Rehome
    5. Recycle and 
    6. Resource Recovery (the absolute last resort). 

World’s Biggest Garage Sale - Dormant Goods for Good!

 

Elizabeth Larkin from The Spruce also suggests labeling bins with the above and keeping them in a centralised room within your home. 

Review and Hand-on

So, you’ve organised your declutter chaos and spread out the clean up into organised groups, what next? The next step is absolutely vital, so let’s go through the list again:

    1. Retain – take all your cherished treasured items and organise them in your home.
    2. Repair – for any items that need repair there are several resources out there to assist – visit one of almost 1000 Men’s Shed in Australia, consult iFixit online that has over 54,000 repair guides or drop-in to a local Repair Cafe or launch one yourself!!
    3. Repurpose – try turning those old clothes into household rags, washcloths or scrubbing/polishing cloths; old bags into washing baskets and old containers into desk/stationary storage. Repurposing is always a fantastic way to recommission those old goods into something new. Give your goods to Substation33 and they can disassemble the parts and turn them into something new!!
    4. Renew – Ministry of Handmade run workshops to help you try a fresh coat of paint/fabric, giving your old goods new life or turning them into household decor!
    5. Rehome– Donate items that are in good condition or good working order to local charities (St. Vincent de Paul, Lifeline, Salvos, Red Cross and many more) and for those dormant goods that you can’t bear to part with but rarely use/need (think awesome cocktail dress you can’t wear anymore but still love) World’s Biggest Garage Sale is the place for you.
    6. Recycle – Place anything recyclable in your home recycling bin and for all other items consult Planet Ark’s comprehensive Recycling Near You website and familiarise yourself with what can be recycled in your local area.
    7. Resource Recover (the absolute last resort) – after going through the exhaustive list above, there should be very few items that go into rubbish (aka landfill) and for those that do, remember them and think twice before purchasing something like it again, that is hard to dispose of at end of life. Consider calling on 1800-GOT-JUNK to take away any items you’re unsure of – they ensure that your rubbish is recycled, donated, or otherwise disposed of responsibly.

 

Spring is such a fabulous time of the year!! Hopefully this article has given you some tips and tricks to help you declutter and breathe new life into your home, while responsibly handling the resources that flow in and out of your life!

Happy decluttering!

Take Homes from WCEF 2019 and Inside QLD’s First Climate Week

Last week was a big week of collective action as we saw the first ever Climate Week Queensland and it coincided with World Circular Economy Forum WCEF2019 in Helsinki. In Queensland, there were so many great people and minds meeting to exchange ideas and spread the message about climate change. Former US Vice President Al Gore was also conducting Climate Reality training in Brisbane as a part of Climate Week.

What is the World Circular Economy Forum?

This year WCEF2019, the World Circular Economy Forum, was hosted in Helsinki, Finland. WCEF2019 has a strong emphasis on the next era of the circular economy and scaling up the transition. This involves growing investments in circular economy businesses, spreading and adopting new technologies, and making significant regulatory changes that enable a circular economy to flourish.

A circular economy can be described as a system where as much material as possible continues to cycle in use rather than be disposed of into landfill. In Australia, we have a mostly linear economy in Australia – where most
material is predominantly somewhere in the linear process of extract, process, manufacture, use, dispose. WCEF2019 is all about enabling that change from linear to circular.

One of  Yas’ favourite quotes from the event was by Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director at the European Environment Agency (EEA). He said….

 

“If you think you’re leading but no one is following, you’re just taking a walk.”

Impact Investing & Accelerating the Circular Economy

Spelling out the need to rethink capitalism and not pin hopes on technology to save the day was a key theme this year.

This incredibly professional and profoundly action oriented global event has been about collaboration and action NOW for our future. The leaders and decision makers here are the doers and the game changers.

Impact has also had a strong theme, with leaders talking about new ways to invest in organisations paving the way for all things circular economy.

For instance, London’s approach has been all about utilising venture funding to support SME transition to circular and invest in new business models.

Maybe nothing is more impactful as an indication of the times than Ikea announcing to become a fully circular business by 2030.

Some Extra WCEF Inspiration

The WCEF2019 event wrapped up with some more great quotes.

”Nature needs to be seen as a partner and not as a resource”

says MariPantsar of the SitraFund in her closing remarks.

If the powerful messages from the visionaries and leaders in this space isn’t enough, this might get you moving…

”We don’t need to be superheroes. We need to be ordinary people who do ordinary things for an extraordinary goal. We can save the only planet we have.”

Such a powerful message from the EnoProgramme youth over the 70 countries in WCEF2019.

Climate Hack 2019

As Yas was immersed in all things Circular Economy –  the solution to the “climate issue hiding in plain sight”. Donaugh was in Brisbane celebrating at Climate Hack 2019. Led by QLD chief entrepreneur and .

The energy in the room was electric, with teams coming together on the day working on one of ten key themes to build solutions, be they technical, policy recommendations or new ventures.

This hackathon looked at the Circular Economy and how it can address household waste, with some awesome circular economy leaders coming together to share experiences and find new ways forward.

Climate Week QLD, CitySmart Climate Week Speaker Series

Climate Week QLD Speaker Series

Donaugh also got the opportunity to share some practical take homes and the WBGS journey at Climate Week QLD Speaker Series hosted by City Smart at the Powerhouse. There is so much embodied energy in the products we use and as Harley Weston from Solaire Properties highlighted, ‘waste is just a resource in the wrong place’.

We need to make the most of the resources we have already liberated and processed. The circular principles of resource efficiency, better design and effective loops (#SDG12) for the products we use each and everyday will help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and ultimately greenhouse gases.

WOW, there’s a lot to do and so much opportunity and positive ways forward! Let’s get to work then, shall we? Together!