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Circular Economy

Doughnut Economics: the sweet zone for all!

As questions of GDP, economic growth and job stimulation fly around during the slow easing of COVID-19 restrictions, a new model for economics is gaining exposure – Doughnut Economics. Developed by Kate Raworth considers it to be “like a compass for humanity in the 21st century” and extends economics beyond what we have traditionally known, posing the the following question:

How do we ensure we all have the resources we need to meet our human rights, but within the means of the planet?

Kate Raworth

Origin of Economics

The term economics is thought to have originated in Greece in relation to household management, but it didn’t really appear as know it, until the late 1700s and is generally credited to the publication of Scottish philosopher Adam Smith’s 1776 book, An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.[1] 

The industrial revolution is when economics and the mentality that our society is currently run by, really took flight. It’s also the time that we started to separate more distinctly from nature and planet earth – it’s any wonder we’re in the state we’re in.

Economic Shortcomings

Kate Raworth, has analysed economics as we currently define it and found a number of shortcomings – the economy does not take the environment into account, the monetized economy is heavily supported by the unpaid care economy and the distribution of prosperity is unequal.





Doughnut Economics

As long as someone has been making, supplying and distributing goods or services, there has been some sort of economy. Doughnut Economics challenges the status quo and flips economics as we know it on it’s head – what if economics didn’t start with money, but instead started with human wellbeing? It asks us to tackle the 21st century challenge of meeting the needs of all within the means of the planet. 





Circular Economy, SDGs and Doughnuts

Through strong visuals, it demonstrates that a doughnut is the sweet zone for all, bounded within by a social foundation and outward by an ecological ceiling. We see the circular economy as a fundamental principle ensuring we stay on the doughnut when making, supplying and distributing goods.





We highly recommend Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth. Let’s strip the term economics back to basics and redefine it moving forward for a better world for all.

Declutter dormant goods – the gift of isolation

With many of us spending more time at home recently, the chance to declutter your dormant goods may be one gift of isolation. This week we delve into the benefits of clearing out your ‘clutter’ and how to do so in a way that delights someone else’s life.

Decluttering is the term given to literally removing clutter from your space, whether that be your home, workplace or other area you frequent often. Synonymous with ‘spring cleaning’, decluttering involves sorting through the items you own to determine what is still valued and useful, and what is no longer needed or wanted. 

Declutter Clothes
Give your clothes a second life!

If you’re now working from home, it may be in your best interest to rid your space of extra mess. Psychologists have suggested that there’s an intrinsic link between clutter and one’s mental health. Research on the subject implies that more clutter leads to higher stress levels and that its presence can lead to unproductive behaviour and an unfocused mind! 

Decluttering has recently experienced a resurgence like no other. Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, captivated readers with its new take on home organisation. Its popularity was spurred on by the successful spin-off Netflix show, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. If you’re unfamiliar with Marie Kondo, her ‘KonMari’ method of tidying taps into the spiritual connection one has with the clutter they own. Her belief is that one should only possess belongings that inspire a happy sensation or are associated with wonderful memories. If a possession of yours doesn’t ‘spark joy’ then it isn’t worth holding on to.

Easy ways to start decluttering

Her other tidying tips are easy ways to make a start on your decluttering mission…

  • Need storage? Don’t purchase storage containers without knowing exactly what you’re using them for – make use of the boxes you already have at home.
    • A great way to mindfully reduce the amount of plastic you’re buying too!
  • Get rid of loose paperwork – they’re not needed in the digital age. Important papers can be photographed or scanned into your computer.
    • Make sure all your papers go into the recycling bin to help our environment!
  • Make note of what’s in your pantry – only keep what you will use and enjoy.
    • With all the cooking at home this is especially important! If your food items are unopened and still in date, consider donating them to a service like Foodbank!
  • Ensure everything has its ‘place’ in your space.
    • This will help to prevent loose clutter and any future messes from occurring!

Yas and dormant goods
Yas with an eclectic mix of dormant goods given a new lease on life!

Here to help with dormant goods

Once you’ve been through a decluttering process, there’s always that final stage of ensuring your clutter actually leaves your home and your car!! If you’re unsure what to do with your dormant goods or where to take them, we’re here to help! World’s Biggest Garage Sale has now moved to a brand new warehouse The Depot, Rivermakers, conveniently located at Morningside.  We are offering a contactless declutter drive-thru drop-off point for all of your dormant goods. Say goodbye to clutter and feel good knowing that your items will delight someone else, as we give your items a new home and lease on life.

Declutter drive-thru
Declutter drive-thru!

For more details on dropping off your dormant goods, feel free to contact us via our website!

Sustainable Development Goals can help us “Build Back Better”!!

The lessons we will learn from this time remain to be seen. I’m sure there will be many. What is already clear, is that when borders are reopened, schools and businesses are back and social distancing measures are lifted, the world will be a very different place. We will be different. Now is a great time to look at models like the Sustainable Development Goals, to help us with recovery.

During economic crises, while we’re all dealing with the immediate and sudden changes to life as we knew it, it is easy to forget about long-term sustainability. Routines have changed, social interactions are different, uncertainty is an ever present bedfellow with whom we need to make peace. And all the while, those long-term issues still need to be addressed. While the first world is trying to get a handle on food waste, other nations are still suffering from hunger and poverty. Recent reports indicate the Great Barrier Reef has suffered its third mass coral bleaching event in five years. Climate change is still very real.

No Planet B - Build Back Better with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

There is No Planet B

For a long time at World’s Biggest Garage Sale, we have talked about the need for business to put people and planet first – before economic growth. This time that we all have now, is an opportunity to reset the compass on both business and government policy. To reflect on what really matters and to build foundations that consider social, environmental and economic concerns in equal measure. In the words of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres,



“let’s #buildbackbetter and turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future”.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres



It is also essential that government policies and decision-making are informed by science and evidence.

A great way to start this journey for your business, your government sector and at home, is to familiarise yourself with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and incorporate them into your business. 



“A universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.”



These 17 goals are multifaceted and interconnected. By addressing one, you will quickly find you actually need to address more, as the complex way in which society operates now, means that various levers need to change in order to address particular goals. 

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

To start, try the following:

  • Review your core business and see which sustainable development goals align best. Visit – About the Sustainable Development Goals.
    • As an example, World’s Biggest Garage Sale is strongly aligned with SDG 12. Responsible Consumption & Production. 
  • Read up on that goal on the United Nations website to understand the goal and why it matters. Each goal has great resources such as Why it Matters, Infographics and Targets.
  • Dive deeper and understand the Facts and Figures for a specific goal’s targets and integrate these with your business strategy.
  • Track and Measure using the SDG Action Manager to monitor your business progress against the SDGs.

As I love to say:

“What gets measured gets done.”

We can create more more sustainable, resilient and inclusive societies moving forward. We’d love to hear how your organisation is working on the Sustainable Development Goals and helping the world reach the 2030 target! To further show your support, we have SDG pins on sale at our online store. Wear one today to demonstrate you are an ambassador for the SDGs, you GSD for the SDGs and lead with love!!

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Pins

Circular Economy News: Luxury Goods From Recycled Firehose

Garbage To Grandness

In our line of work we watch the circular economy news closely and as a result we get to see sustainable innovation at its finest. We never tire of seeing individuals, groups and corporations create profits from ideas that not only don’t exploit people or the planet, but actually provide benefit to both. This article is about one such company.

Elvis & Kresse turns decommissioned fire hoses into sustainably and ethically made luxury accessories,. If that isn’t good enough it donates half of its profits to support renewable energy and women’s empowerment projects, as well as firefighters in need. I read about Elvis and Kresse in this article featured on causeartist.com, a website dedicated to shining a light on social enterprises, that is the people and companies making a difference in the world.

Every moment of reading this circular economy news article filled me with joy and one day I’d love to purchase one of their amazing products. Apart from being great looking and practical, they are made from a super-tough material that I’d expect to last a lifetime, perhaps longer. That pretty much ticks every box I have to before making a purchase. 

Circular Economy News: Innovative British company recycles firehose into luxury goods turning garbage to grandness


Key takeaways

  • Elvis and Kresse’ products, which include bags, wallets, belts, notebooks or laptop cases, are designed with a zero waste ethos in mind. This means their production processes leave no scraps behind, involve only upcycled materials, and use packaging made out of reclaimed fabric.
  • Through a chance encounter in 2005, Elvis & Kresse founders James Henrit (aka ‘Elvis’) and Kresse Wesling, realized that every year, between 3 to 10 tons of fire hoses are destined for the landfill in London.
  • Despite no previous experience in fashion, the former design consultant and venture capitalist duo spent two years prototyping what products reclaimed fire hoses could be repurposed into, and created conscious sartorial brand Elvis & Kresse.
  • When asked what sets Elvis & Kresse apart in a world defined by consumerism, fast fashion and increasing greenwashing practices, Wesling explained their definition of sustainability: “For us, if it doesn’t make the world better for other people’s grandchildren, then it isn’t sustainable.”
Circular Economy News: Innovative British company recycles firehose into luxury goods turning garbage to grandness

Top tips for aspiring social entrepreneurs

Think backwards. Don’t start with an idea, start with a problem. We face unprecedented environmental challenges: we have lost 30 percent of our bees, and by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the oceans, much of it too small to see or capture. If you want to run a truly rewarding, impact-driven business, choose one of these challenges.

Be entirely sustainable. This encompasses environmental, social and financial aspects, the latter because positive cashflow means you won’t have to compromise on your solution. Just because you are a purpose-driven social enterprise – that exists to do good – doesn’t mean you will be immune to wider economic issues.

If a business decision is bad for other people’s grandchildren, don’t make it. Period. This is something we talk through with Elvis every time. The world doesn’t have time for exploitative, destructive businesses. Those days are gone.

The last word…

I wonder what we’ll make? For those of you who don’t know, we moved into our new Morningside location at 506 Lytton Rd just before Easter (2020). We can’t wait to run a Retail Rescue sale day, a Circular Economy Futures Meetup or even a smaller World’s Biggest Garage Sale event. In a special announcement, our own circular economy news is that we are dedicating part of the building to being a makerspace. Between ourselves, other businesses and individuals and some strategic partnerships, we expect to be producing, or more to the point repurposing goods, from that space within weeks. Watch this space…

Yas 

Co-Founder/CEO

Resource Recovery a big success at Retail Rescue: Watch this Makerspace

On the 14th of March, we hosted Brisbane’s first-ever Resource Recovery circular economy pop-up sale ‘Retail Rescue’. It was a brilliant day, with some bargains snapped up, some laughs had and stock (recovered resources) re-activated into the economy!! Stock that otherwise would have lain dormant in warehouses or may have suffered a less than ideal fate, ending up in landfill.

Being leaders in landfill diversion, resource recovery and the circular economy in Brisbane, we had a few businesses reach out to us to help them ensure that the stock they have on hand found a second life and made an impact. Our team and our community of supporters spent time sorting through brand new returned items, slightly damaged stock and second hand furniture. We then reviewed, renewed, repaired and repurposed these goods, in preparation for our warehouse open day ‘Retail Rescue’. Our Resource Recovery section of the warehouse saw unusable and less than ideal stock being separated into parts, some of which were used to salvage and repair other items with minor imperfections. Finally, after the usable parts were recovered, our leftover resource streams were carefully separated and sent off to be recycled or repurposed into new products. 


Resource Recovery in action by the WBGS Team


This was an exciting project for the team, as it presented us with a huge opportunity to reframe what was once considered unsaleable stock into viable and wanted products. To have been able to present it to the wider community, making it accessible for people to shop consciously and reasonably, made it even more worthwhile. The response and feedback from the community on the impact for the planet and their wallets was phenomenal, with repeat customers and supporters from our regular Garage Sale, our second hand sale that we host yearly, and our first circular economy shoe boutique pop-up, If The Shoe Fits, returning to shop circular and score some bargains. We were also honored to welcome the Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, the Honorable Trevor Evans MP. Our friends at Channel 7, also popped-in to share the incredible sustainable bargains on the nightly news. 


Retail Rescue: Brisbane's first Resource Recovery warehouse sale.


There is a sustainable and circular movement happening in Brisbane and we are so proud to be involved in making this happen. In the book Becoming by Michelle Obama, she writes about a speech that Barack delivers in which he talks about creating change in which he says:


Barack Obama quote from Michelle Obama's book, Becoming.


At the World’s Biggest Garage Sale, we see a world where Circular Shopping Precincts are as big as Westfield Centres, with Makerspaces built into the model and Resource Recovery at the heart. A world where people can come to not only shop circular, but also to learn and get involved. We see a world where jobs are created and opportunities are available for everyone, especially the vulnerable and those who are living on the margins. We see a space that is inclusive and tolerant, that empowers people with skills that help them grow, both on a personal and professional level. 

The best part of all of this is that we not only believe in this world, but we are doing ‘the doing’ to make this a reality. We are working towards a better world where People, Planet and Purpose are at the heart of everything we do. In line with this, we have just moved into a new and bigger warehouse space, where we are currently building our makerspace, soon to be teeming with action once we can all move freely again.


If you know of or work for a business that has stock that is sitting dormant or otherwise would go into landfill, please get in contact with the team. If you have have a trade under your belt or are handy with tools or a sewing machine and like to get involved in our makerspace, reach out. Let’s all work together for a more circular world.

www.wbgs.com.au

info@wbgs.com.au