Reuse, share and upcycle

Brisbane City Council is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill in Brisbane by encouraging reuse, repair, upcycling and sharing. These are some of the key strategies to building a cleaner, greener and more sustainable city.

Community sharing initiatives

Brisbane is lucky to have options for residents to reduce waste by borrowing items instead of buying them new. A tool library or sharing library provides access to hundreds of tools and equipment. These kinds of libraries reduce consumption and support Brisbane’s efforts toward a more circular economy. 

Items available may include power tools, kitchen appliances, camping equipment, sports gear, toys and games, musical instruments and party gear. Consider if signing up to the Brisbane Tool Library or Share Shed can help you save money, live more sustainably and support community initiatives.

Brisbane Tool Library 

The Brisbane Tool Library houses tools and equipment donated and rescued from landfill. The Tool Library has a large selection of household, gardening and building tools to loan out to the public. For a small annual membership fee you can have access to any of these tools for up to seven days. For more information visit Brisbane Tool Library.

Share Shed

Located in Salisbury, Share Shed is Queensland’s first library of things. Share Shed has a range of items including party goods, lawn mowers, kayaks, gardening tools and board games. Join as an individual member or sign up as an organisation to start borrowing. You can view the entire catalogue and membership details at Share Shed.

Reverse Garbage Queensland

Reverse Garbage Queensland (RGQ) is a treasure trove of unique materials to use in your next craft or upcycling project. 

This not-for-profit organisation collects quality industrial discards, diverting them from landfill and selling them at low cost to the public.

RGQ regularly hosts waste-focused art workshops and educational talks and tours to suit every age and group. 

Revive Second-hand Fashion Festival

The Revive Second-hand Fashion Festival returned for its third year on Friday 17 August 2018. Revive is a celebration of style, value and eco-friendly virtues of buying pre-loved clothing. The event encourages residents to consider how they can make more sustainable fashion choices and support textile recycling, reuse and repair.

Recreate Fashion Show and Twilight Market

Council held the Recreate Fashion Show and Twilight Market at King George Square in November 2018. The fashion show and market celebrates National Recycling Week. The show features incredible, one-of-a-kind handmade designs by local Brisbane designers. Find out more about the talented designers who featured at this event.

Garage Sale Trail

Council has sponsored the annual Garage Sale Trail event for the past six years and nearly 600 garage sales and stalls participated in the latest event. The event links garage sales across Australia and supports reuse, fundraising and fostering local connections. 

The event takes place on the third weekend each October, with the next event scheduled for 19-20 October 2019. Garage Sale Trail is an opportunity to declutter your home, shop the trail for treasure and help Brisbane keep waste out of landfill. 

Boomerang Bags

Brisbane residents looking to actively participate in tackling plastic waste can connect with their local Boomerang Bags volunteer group.

This initiatives brings together volunteers to create reusable shopping bags by upcycling fabrics that could otherwise end up in landfill. Volunteers distribute the upcycled bags at various locations and identify opportunities to encourage better waste reduction behaviours in the local community.

New participants do not need sewing skills as there are many other ways to get involved. More than 20 groups exist in Brisbane. Residents wanting to get involved can visit Boomerang Bags to join an existing group or start their own.

World’s Biggest Garage Sale

The World’s Biggest Garage Sale is an event that began in Brisbane to raise money for children’s charities and reduce waste to landfill by supporting the second-hand economy.

Each year, the event invites Brisbane residents to donate quality items they no longer use. Donated items are collected, sorted, cleaned, priced and set up for sale at a large community sale event in a Brisbane warehouse.

Since it began in 2013, this initiative has raised more than $300,000 for charity. At a recent event, the organisation donated two million kilograms of quality pre-loved items which were given a new life.

For more information on how to shop, donate or volunteer your time for the next event, visit World’s Biggest Garage Sale

Recycling Art Competition

The Salvage Recycling Art Competition explores the creative potential in reusing and recycling household items and furniture. 

Reuse and upcycle tips

There are many other everyday items that we can reuse and upcycle instead of them going to landfill. View the following tips to help you reuse more at home:

  • buy from Council’s tip shops and from op shops, antique centres, garage sales and community sales
  • always share or donate quality items that you don’t need or want. For locations, check out the national website for charities or Recycling Near You 
  • take reusable furniture and homewares to Council’s free resource recovery centres. They will be donated to tip shops and all funds raised support the Endeavour Foundation.
  • donate to an op-shop. For locations, check out the national website for charities or Recycling Near You
  • give yourself a project to repair and refurbish homewares and furniture, rather than buying brand new
  • incorporate pre-loved and revived clothing into your wardrobe by mending, altering and buying second-hand.

Hosting a successful garage sale

Garage sales are a great way to declutter, make some extra money and support Brisbane’s thriving second-hand economy.

Our free Get garage sale ready guide provides Brisbane residents with information to have a fun and profitable garage sale day.

Pre-loved and revived clothing tips

By prolonging the life of existing clothing, we can avoid sending textiles to landfill. Mending, altering and updating your clothes is another way to feel good about what you wear, while supporting sustainability.

When buying pre-loved fashion, remember:

  • go in with an open mind and embrace the unexpected
  • classic clothing never dates, so invest in timeless pieces made from quality fabrics
  • the term 'retro' is for 1970's to 1980’s, while 'vintage' is 1970’s and older
  • you can replace buttons and zips
  • you can have hems easily altered
  • sizes vary between decades and regions, so ignore the label and try it on!
  • dedicate enough time to enjoy the hunt. Your ultimate second-hand gem is out there
  • imagine how these new treasures will fit in with pieces in your existing wardrobe
  • if the fabric is in good condition and you like the style, consider having it resized by a tailor or learning how to fix it yourself
  • feel good knowing revived fashion is unique, financially savvy, and environmentally sustainable
  • continue the hunt for second-hand gems at op shops and vintage sellers across Brisbane.
  • help inspire others and share your second-hand finds on social media with #ReviveBNE.
Last updated:7 May 2019
Topics: green waste