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Circular Economy

Mottainai one Guiding Philosophy to Inspire Our View on ‘Stuff’:

When dealing with and handling dormant goods, as an organisation we’re constantly reflecting on our relationship with resources and ‘stuff’. Our accumulation of new, bright, shiny things, has us a little out whack with nature. Some guiding philosophies around ‘stuff’ that we find helpful and inspiring are 3 Japanese terms – Mottainai, Wabi-Sabi and Kintsugi.. Over the next few weeks we’ll talk a little bit more about these terms, what they mean and how you can incorporate them into your life.

To kick things off, let’s start with Mottainai.


The Japanese concept of mottainai is to respect the resources that come to you, use those resources wisely and be grateful for that resource. 

Loosely translated as both “what a waste” and “don’t be wasteful”, it reminds us to respect the items that come our way, take good care of our things, repair things when they are broken & rehome what we no longer use. At World’s Biggest Garage Sale we take all goods that come to us through a comprehensive resource recovery process. In line with the circular economy, we want to avoid comments like “what a waste” and keep products and materials in use for as long as possible.

We don’t yet have an equivalent word in the English language for mottainai, but we’re probably overdue! Only then can we move from ‘what a waste’ to ‘What? No waste!’. 

To help moving toward ‘what? no waste’, rehome your unwanted items through our makerspace!

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where we talk about Wabi-Sabi. 

#wbgs #circulareconomy #resourcerecovery

#dormantgoods #mottainai #respect #reduce #reuse #renew #repurpose #recycle #sustainability #positivechange #noplanetb #climateaction #impact #sdgs #wastediversion #waste #zerowaste

In This Together: On The Path to Reconciliation

I would like to begin this post by acknowledging the Yuggera people, the traditional Custodians of the land on which I’m writing to you from today, and pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. I also would like to acknowledge that this land holds knowledge and practices which were implemented for thousands of generations before us.

Yesterday, 26th of May, was Sorry Day. A day dedicated to the remembrance of the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. The Stolen Generations were forcibly removed from their families by the government, welfare or church and then placed with non-indigenous foster families with the intention to disconnect them from their heritage and “erase” the culture. It is a day to remember the trauma and hurt caused and to acknowledge the strength and resilience of those children and families.

Today, 27th of May, is the first day of Reconciliation Week, a week set in the Australian calendar for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. This year is a special one as it marks twenty years since Reconciliation Australia launched its journey for a more just, equitable and reconciled nation. The theme this year is In This Together, and honestly, no theme would be as fitting as this in working towards closing the gap. The reconciliation journey is a journey that we need to go on together, hand-by-hand, mind-to-mind, and heart-to-heart. If anyone had any doubts about the importance of doing things together, the times we are going through right now should serve as a wake up call. It is time to take off the blinkers and become more attuned to the world around us. We cannot afford to zombie cruise through life, ignoring things that make us uncomfortable. 

No one is being asked to repent for the sins of peoples past, but everyone is being called upon to consciously make an effort, to learn and stand by each other. Here in Australia, we are privileged to be in the presence of one of the oldest continuous living cultures in the world. The history, the beauty and the magic of our First Nation’s people should be celebrated and incorporated, to a greater extent, in our schools’ syllabi, our entertainment industry, our historic landmarks, our workplaces and our governmental policies.

Picture credit: https://auspire.org.au/event/sorry-day/

So we are calling on you to do your bit! In the spirit of the theme, In this Together, you don’t have to do it alone. Find a buddy go on this journey together. Better yet, call on your Indigenous friends and ask them questions or get them to share what they are comfortable to share. Let us continue closing the gap and discovering more about the original custodians of the lands we live on. You can find some links below to help you begin your journey.

Click here to discover the Indigenous clans of the land you live on (AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia).

Click here to go on an awareness-raising journey (Share Our Pride journey map)

Click here to learn more about Reconciliation Week (Reconciliation Australia website)

#NRW2020 #InThisTogether2020 #shareourpride #Indigenous #Aboriginal #AboriginalAustralia #TorresStraightIslanders #Culture #Heritage #History #Reconciliation #sorryday #apology #Australia #ClosingTheGap #FirstNations #FirstNationsAustralia #IndigenousAustralia #Yuggera

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