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Circular Economy

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

The original conservation and sustainability leaders and do-ers.

I would like to begin this post by acknowledging the Yugerra 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 practices and knowledge which were implemented for thousands of generations before me.

The 26th of January is a controversial day in Australians’ calendars. It’s a National day that was chosen based on the arrival of captain Arthur Phillip and his fleet in 1788 to the shores of the Eora Nation, starting a colony and claiming “discovery” of the land. To some, it’s a day to celebrate nationalism and show patriotism over a BBQ and some beers. To others, the significance of this day is deeper than that. It’s a reminder of colonialism, of invasion of the settlement on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander’s land that lead to a painful reminder of the mistreatment and violence against indigenous people.

Source: Dennis Nona  | Mal lag Ar Apark AW Whural Ar Idal (State 1)

As a Lebanese Australian who has migrated to this beautiful land 12 years ago, it is hard for me to identify with either. However, I choose to celebrate all Australians while paying respect to the people that came before, the traditional owners of the land, the people who respected and used it in sustainable ways. It has been genetically proven through various studies that the Australian Aboriginal population is one of the oldest continuous living cultures in the world. I think that is something to be celebrated and one of the most interesting facts that I like to share with people when asked about Australia. The reason they earned this title is due to their practices and culture, I don’t think they could have done it without respect to the land and sustainably working with it, rather than using it as a finite resource.

A Yuingin [You·in·gin; meaning friend in the Yugara language spoken in the Brisbane area west to Ipswich and the Lockyer Valley, but understood in the Greater Brisbane area of Yugerra] of mine lent me a book last year called Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe, which blew my mind. Bruce Pascoe unpicks the settler’s diaries and refutes the idea of the belief that Aboriginal culture was a Hunter/Gatherer lifestyle, an idea perpetuated by the settlers created through their rose-coloured superiority lense. He suggests, through their journals and diaries, concepts of agriculture and land management. These glimpses into pre-colonial Australia are vital in understanding true Australian history and proving that indeed Indigenous Australians were the original fishers, farmers, bread makers, scientists and engineers. Pascoe starts by exploring agricultural practices and animal farming. There are references and stories of planting, husbandry, harvesting and storage. References to rainwater capturing systems. Evidence of animal capturing techniques that ensured a meal but did not obstruct migration and ensured continuity of the species were also revealed. There was evidence of storage spaces of food and preservation techniques, which rendered toxic foods edible and prolonged the life of others. Controlled fires within bush areas and agricultural lands for regeneration and management were also evident in the settler’s journals.

 

 

Source: Doris Gingingara – Emu and Bush Turkey

 

Dark Emu is beautifully grouped into sections, from agriculture and aquaculture to housing and controlled burning, all the way to language and law. I won’t spoil it any further because it is a fascinating read and you’ll just find yourself devouring the book, chapter after chapter, with the thirst to erase your preconceived notions about Australian history and Indigineous culture and re-build your knowledge with an undeniable truth that has been hidden for a long time. Before I stop talking about the book though, I would like to share a couple of quotes with you which resonated with me, from chapter seven “The Australian Agricultural Revolution”, as I feel there are two principles by which we should all be living, Continuance and Respect, two values which are at the heart of all sustainability practices.

 

The life of the clan was devoted to continuance” 

and

There was an underlying conservatism in this approach, a concern for people they might never meet, and a respect for the prey species embedded in the spiritual and cultural fibre.” 

 

Source: Jorna Newberry – Waru Tjukurrpa (Fire Dreaming)

 

With all the fires, floods and hail storms that have struck our beautiful country recently, destroying our land and ecology, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if we still lived in a world where Indigeneous cultures were not only celebrated, but were guiding us on how we use our resources and work with our land.

 

Today, I’m lifting a SOBAH beer (Australia’s first non-alcoholic craft beer, Aboriginal owned and led) to the people who came before us, the original implementers of sustainable practices, the first farmers, scientists, astronomers, geologists, ecologists and engineers, the Indigineous people of Australia.

 

Become an ally! Ask, research, make an effort.

Find below some recommendations and links I have discovered on my journey of educating myself and writing this blog.

 

 

By: Wassim Sayegh

 

Picture Credits: Japinka Aboriginal Art Online Gallery

Pictures as they appear in the post:
  1. Doris Gingingara - Emu and Bush Turkey
  2. Dennis Nona  | Mal lag Ar Apark AW Whural Ar Idal (State 1)
  3. Jorna Newberry - Waru Tjukurrpa (Fire Dreaming)

Dive into Defining Decade with 2020 Vision

It’s ironic really, that one of the most critical decades for humanity – some would argue the most critical – kicks off in the year 2020. Poetic really. We’re all familiar with the term 2020 Vision – completely seeing the truth of a situation. And by golly that’s exactly what we’re going to need for the next 10 years.

Time to take off the rose coloured glasses. No more denial. No more blinkers on. No more heads in the sand. With only 10 years left at current emissions (or only 9% of the carbon budget left: Global Carbon Project) sound the alarm wherever you are – #climateemergency. The coming 10 years are also imperative for fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 agenda, many of which address climate change.

 

Source: Global Carbon Project

 

Recent fires burning in Australia are a clarion call to all, with scientists saying the fire conditions this year are unparalleled on several fronts. Scientists predicted our current plight many many years ago and we just didn’t listen, or at least the ‘powers that be’ of the time didn’t. Worse still, I suspect it was covered up – too much of a threat to the dominant industry of the time. A threat that was too far in the future and most likely would never come to pass. 

As early as 1896 Svante Arrhenius published a scientific paper regarding carbon dioxide emissions and its effect on temperature and global warming (see here), followed by Edward Olson Hulburt [de] in the 1930s (see here) and Guy Callendar. 

And still many continue to ignore or silence some of the brightest individuals on the planet: our scientists. Recently more than 11,000 scientists co-signed a letter in the journal BioScience, calling for urgent action regarding the climate. World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency is a holiday must read. Easily digested over a coffee, the facts of climate change are presented, with one of the most striking comments:

 

The climate crisis is closely linked to excessive consumption of the wealthy lifestyle. The most affluent countries are mainly responsible for the historical GHG emissions and generally have the greatest per capita emissions 

 

It goes on to detail “six critical and interrelated steps (in no particular order) that governments, businesses, and the rest of humanity can take to lessen the worst effects of climate change”: Energy, Short-lived pollutants, Nature, Food, Economy and Population.

Reducing global warming is a war that will need to be fought on many fronts. There is no silver bullet, no vaccine. This genie isn’t so easily put back in the bottle. Just many different solutions that will all need to be implemented simultaneously. Some will work, some won’t, but we have to act, however imperfectly initially – iterate, rework and strike again until we tackle the above issues. 

Our work at World’s Biggest Garage Sale lies mainly within the Economy section, where the scientist’s state “Excessive extraction of materials and overexploitation of ecosystems, driven by economic growth, must be quickly curtailed to maintain long-term sustainability of the biosphere.” The way we produce, consume and manage end of life products needs to change fundamentally at a systemic level leading to increased resource efficiency and a reduction in energy consumption at all steps in the production process.

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation “45% of emissions comes from producing the cars, clothes, food, and other products we use every day. These cannot be overlooked. The circular economy can contribute to completing the picture of emissions reduction by transforming the way we make and use products.” Systemic change.

As you participate in the ritual of gift giving at Christmas time, consider the many sustainable options that are available and perhaps give a repurposed or pre-loved gift instead. Our recent circular economy popup ‘If The Shoe Fits’ has demonstrated that the tide is turning with regards to second-hand goods, with consumers looking for sustainable purchasing options. If you do end up with some gifts you don’t want or need over the festive season, then hold onto them for our next garage sale coming up in early 2020 – we’ll help you find another home for them.

 

There is something within all of these six areas the 11,000 scientists recommend that we can all be working on in business and personally. As the festive season closes in and we’re enjoying time with loved ones, living in an era our ancestors would argue was one of immense privilege (what they wouldn’t have given for hot running water, electricity at the flick of a switch and comfortable beds, not to mention the ridiculous number of gifts that abound at Christmas), reflect on the day to day choices you make that could have a positive effect on people & planet.

 

Look at the faces of your loved ones, especially the young ones, and think carefully about the future planet and society we’re leaving them with. If you’re in a position professionally to do something, then please speak up. And more importantly act.

 

To quote the Dalai Lama:

Taking care of our planet, is a matter of looking after our own home. We can no longer exploit the earth’s resources—the trees, water, air and minerals—with no care for the coming generations.

 

Thank you for your support throughout 2019. Wherever you are and whoever you are with this Christmas, honour and cherish your loved ones and appreciate and respect this amazing planet that we all call home – there is no Planet B. All the very best for the coming decade – let’s make it one where we can look back and say “We did all we could and are immensely proud to be human”!!

 

2020 Vision  | 10 years |  People, Planet, Purpose

By: Donaugh Austin

Volunteer for an Inclusive Future

“The diverse and dynamic role of volunteerism in promoting the Sustainable Development Goals merits strong support from Governments and other stakeholders. On this International Day, I thank volunteers for their efforts to leave no one behind.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres

World’s Biggest Garage Sale wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment expressed by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. We fully support the pursuit of equality — including inclusion — through volunteerism, highlighting United Nations SDG 10, with the theme for #IVD2019 being “Volunteer for an inclusive future”.

Our recent venture ‘If The Shoe Fits’ in at the Brisbane Wintergarden simply would not have been possible without the generous support of volunteers who believe in our mission and give of their time freely in pursuit of a better world. We want to take time today to honour their contribution and to express our gratitude for their efforts.

Volunteering provides opportunities for people, particularly those often excluded/marginalised, to play a constructive role in their communities building confidence. We recently held a Queen of Shoes event to include the LGBTQ community of Brisbane and provide an inclusive space for them to shop for shoes. When asked about one of his favourite moments in-store, WBGS super volunteer Wassim, said:

“I had a great moment in the recent venture at If The Shoe Fits, where one of our amazing return customers came up to me and said “Thank you so much! I have never felt confident or safe to shop for shoes. Thank you for having this space.” I was in tears because it doesn’t take much to be kind and inclusive. This goes to show the heart and realness of what is being done here beyond the shoes, the money and the environment. It’s not a coincidence the logo is a Heart, it’s the core of all this business’ values.

We welcome everyone at World’s Biggest Garage Sale. Our company’s practices echo the thoughts of the United Nations who say “Through volunteerism, communities around the world often experience strengthened solidarity and inclusion”, and we welcome everyone at World’s Biggest Garage Sale events. Our inclusive community provides a role and safe space for everyone.

Why Volunteer?

  • Help the Environment: volunteering with WBGS absolutely helps to better your community and the environment through landfill diversion, creation of the #circulareconomy and raising much needed funds for causes.
  • Improve your Wellbeing: It also helps to better you as an individual. Volunteering is a free way to feel good about yourself and build confidence in skills outside of your normal work. The best part is that you get to share that positivity to fellow volunteers and develop new friendships and a sense of connectedness.
  • Reduce Stress: It’s a great way to reduce stress that may come from work or other relationships.
  • Build Hard & Soft Skills: You can build hard skills and experience in an area you would like to move into. And volunteer tasks will involve working with a diverse mix of people, giving you a chance to improve teamwork & communication skills, so you can gel better with others. You’ll inevitably run into various roadblocks at some point allowing you to hone your problem-solving and creative-thinking skills.
  • Fill-in Employment Gaps: If you’re in between gigs, a great way to stay engaged and proactive is to volunteer at WBGS. There are brilliant opportunities for networking and who knows, a volunteer stint with us could lead you to your next job!!

To all the volunteers out there, thank-you for your hard work, the laughs, the mucking-in, the solidarity and for making WBGS the special organisation that is. If you’d like to volunteer with us at Brisbane’s first circular economy Pop-up, we still have slots available at If The Shoe Fits and several events planned for 2020 — you can volunteer here! Have a fantastic International Volutneer’s Day and here’s to many more great events together in 2020!!

#volunteer4inclusion #IVD2019