#Let’s point out the obvious right away. 2021 is starting with a lot of 2020.
COVID-19 looms overhead. #Lockdown is still a part of life for many — and for others, the lingering impacts of earlier shutdowns still pose challenges.
#However, you may be keen to enter a new year by shedding a bit of the old, however small that may be.
#Perhaps it is a pile of belongings you amassed in a mid-lockdown clean-out. A late-night online shopping moment for “essentials” that after the fact, don’t seem as necessary any more.
#Whatever your situation, there are options where you can relieve yourself of (some parts) of 2020 — and better yet, do so in a way that might help others or the environment.
#Here are some ideas to get you started.
#First up: why it’s important to think about where your stuff is going
#Long story short: there’s definite room for improvement.
The #Bureau of #Statistics reports #Australia’s total waste jumped 10 per cent in the two years to #June 2019 — a grand total of 76 million tonnes of the stuff.
There was a similar, yet smaller, increase when looking at just households.
“#Households continue to contribute the highest proportion of plastic and organic waste,” the ABS reported.
#When #War on #Waste looked at fast fashion, it found that #Australians were dumping 6,000 tonnes of clothes in landfill every 10 minutes.
The CSIRO says the current model of how we produce products and deal with waste is unsustainable.
The organisation recommends a switch from a “linear” way of thinking about our economy — produce, consume, dispose of — to a “circular” one.
#Omer #Soker agrees it’s the way to go.
“A circular economy is trying to make use of the products in an endless loop, so we don’t have waste, or we reduce waste tremendously,” says #Omer #Soker.
The #Charitable #Recycling #Australia CEO notes that 2020 saw many people change their attitudes to consumption.
“There’s a growing tide of people who want to shop ethically, sustainably and make an environmental impact.”
The option to resell
#As technology has improved, the garage sales of old have expanded into a number of online platforms.
#If you’re looking to give new life to something you may no longer want (and make a little money), this could be the one for you.
EBay and #Gumtree have been market staples for years. #More recently, social media platforms like #Facebook have taken notice of demand, introducing “#Marketplace” — offering a mixture of resale clothes, tech and furniture.
#Apps such as #Depop can provide a more tailored experience. The site focuses heavily on clothes, shoes and accessories.
They range from vintage styles to more modern fashion, but it’s important to consider the quality of the items you’re hoping to sell — ABC #Everyday has more tips on this.
#Depending on your location, certain vintage stores will also allow you to sell or trade good quality items.
#Donate, donate, donate
A big 2020 clear-out can also be a great opportunity to pay it forward. #Donating items to charity shops not only keeps unnecessary items out of landfill, it can just be a nice way to help someone else out.
“#Products are reused through 3,000 charity shops each year,” #Omer #Soker told The #Drum.
#Like many other industries, the charity sector was hit hard by the impacts of COVID-19. #Restrictions forced many shops to shut.
“The sector probably lost something like $200 million worth of income through the closures.”
#If you’re looking to donate, there are two key points to remember. The first is quality.
#Things like clothes, furniture and other household items are welcome, but #Mr #Soker advises a quick online search of what your local shop accepts before heading in.
“#Two minutes of research might help, as there is a bit of variation between charity shops.”
The other key point to keep in mind is how you donate.
#Omer #Soker says it is essential that where possible, goods are donated within the charity shops themselves, or left securely inside a donation bin.
#Although it can be common to see items left outside a shop — or alongside a bin — it’s important to avoid doing this, as the organisations cannot use or resell anything left in those locations.
#With restrictions eased in much of the country, new protocols have been put in place to ensure the experience is as COVID-safe as possible.
#If you’re not ready to donate yet, that’s also OK! #Mr #Soker says charity shops need donations on an ongoing basis, all year round.
“#It’s environmentally good, it’s socially good and it’s economically good.”
#Recycle (in a way the environment will thank you for)
The #Australian recycling sector has its own big challenges, but if reselling or donating is not an option for you, it could be the way to go.
#Should you choose this path, remember that all things aren’t necessarily made equally — or require the same recycling processes.
#For clothes that are unable to be donated or resold, see if any of your favourite brands offer garment collection programs.
#Old towels and bedding can also be put to use in animal shelters.
The government’s #National #Television and #Computer #Recycling #Scheme provides collection services for some of the more popular tech items.
A list of what exactly can be recycled in this program can be found here. The service is free for homes and small businesses.
There are similar schemes in place for mobile phones and things like printer cartridges.
#If you’re unsure of exactly what to do with that kettle/washing machine/air fryer, #Planet #Ark has resources to start with.
#With COVID restrictions, some of these program hours and access may be changed — it’s recommended that you call ahead if planning to drop items off.
#Remember: it might not be about the whole item. #Materials like copper, steel and plastics can be recovered and reused in another object.
#At the end of the day, whichever option you choose — resell, donate or recycle — a little effort can go a long way.
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