Green Shed: Reducing waste in the circular economy

With eBay and the public becoming aware of the value of their unwanted items, Sandie Parkes feared Canberra’s iconic reuse operation, the green shedcould shrink and die.

“But instead it gets bigger and bigger! …an explosion in the number of people buying more and more stuff.

Sandie Parkes in the Green Shed at Garema Place. Photo: Kerrie Brewer

What this says about the consumer society is “absolutely terrifying”, she believes.

She wonders if people are becoming more aware or if Amazon and online shopping will make the problem worse.

When people shop online, they’re more likely to throw things away because the products aren’t what they expected, she thinks.

Recently someone brought in a brand new table and chairs he bought from Ikea that morning because they didn’t fit in his apartment.

January is the busiest month as people empty their rooms. Lines of cars stretch as far as the eye can see, and each car contains what Mrs. Parkes calls a “trifecta” of books, clothes and toys.

The Green Shed accepts anything (unless it’s broken, dirty, or so big it won’t fit in the Sheds).

Some of the toys he gives away for free. There are mountains of clothes; they don’t go deep inside them until March. Eighty or 90 percent goes to Koomarri15% is distributed free of charge and the remaining 5% goes to the shops in Garema Place.

“The public seems to be trained to bring things to us,” Ms Parkes said.

Clothing for sale at the Green Shed. Photo: Kerrie Brewer

“We’re eternally grateful to them for doing that. It’s just a never-ending cycle of things that happen. It’s demoralizing sometimes how much there is! We get so much that we don’t really know what’s in it. do, but we’re focused on volume. We want to put as much as possible through the backdoor and as much as possible into circulation.”

Ms Parkes advises the public to buy less and think about what they buy.

“Why would you buy something to put your boiled egg in? Why would you buy a mug and some wrapping paper, tape and ribbon, wrap it all up, and give it to someone who’s just going to give it to us? Don’t. Find something else for someone to do.

Watch the ABC War on waste (2017)she was appalled to see girls getting rid of clothes after wearing them only once.

” Do not do that !

Cotton clothes are hardly ethical, she claims – it takes 2,700 liters of water to make a single cotton shirt and textiles take more than two centuries to decompose – while too many clothes are made by children in sweatshops.

“If there was a little slave child next to you, doing what you’re going to wear tonight, you probably wouldn’t be wearing it.”

She urged the public to think about the whole supply chain and the end of product life. People won’t buy less, because it’s convenient to buy. Take bedspreads, for example: his grandmother used small pieces of wool to knit one – but that’s unlikely today.

“It was back when we had a real circular economy. We’re never going to go back on that. … I don’t want to knit a teapot cover; I want to buy one. … But we have to consider the end of life .

Product stewardship programs (minimizing the environmental impact of the product at all stages of its life cycle) hold the key, she suggests. E-waste already has product stewardship: people pay a fee when they buy a TV or computer, which pays for it to be properly recycled.

“We need that for the furniture, to start with. People buy furniture like crazy.

The Green Shed is offered 80 salons a week (and charities probably get as many), but can only sell three or four.

“We can’t take all the furniture people give us…so we have to say no, and they just get buried.”

Maybe, she suggests, they could be recycled, or at least paid to be buried.

“Something that makes people buy one: maybe I’ll hang on to it for another year or two.”

ALSO READ: Canberra’s Green Shed gives second-hand goods a second chance

Shoes at the Green Shed Underground. Photo: Kerrie Brewer

Canberra Weekly would love to hear from you about a story idea in Canberra and the surrounding area. Click here to submit a topical tip.

About Shelly Evans

Check Also

Fossil Free Penn Camp returns to College Green, calling for divestment and action UC Townhomes

Fossil Free Penn at their camp on College Green on September 15, 2022. Credit: Ana …