Reuse, share and upcycle | Brisbane City Council

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 as some of the key strategies to build 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, thereby reducing consumption and supporting Brisbane’s efforts toward a more circular economy. 

Some of the items which may be available include power tools, kitchen appliances, camping equipment, sports gear, toys and games, musical instruments and party gear.

Next time you’re thinking you need to purchase something, consider whether 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 

Operating out of the Edge building in South Brisbane. The Tool Library has a large selection of household, gardening and building tools to loan out to the public. All of the tools and equipment have being donated and rescued from landfill.   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 wide range of useful items including disco balls and party lights, 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 high quality industrial discards, diverting them away from landfill and selling them at a low cost to the general 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 to celebrate the style, value and eco-friendly virtues of buying pre-loved clothing. This event encourages residents to consider how they can make more sustainable fashion choices, and actively support textile recycling, reuse and repair.

Garage Sale Trail

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

The event is held on the third weekend each October, with the next event scheduled for 19-20 October 2019. Garage Sale Trail is a great chance to declutter your home, shop the trail for treasure and help Brisbane keep more 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. The upcycled bags are distributed at locations by each group where they identify an opportunity to encourage better waste reduction behaviours and start meaningful conversations in their local community.

New participants do not need sewing skills as there are many other ways to get involved. More than 20 groups exist across Brisbane and residents wishing to get involved should visit the Boomerang Bags website to either 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. The items are collected, sorted, cleaned, priced and set up for sale at a large-scale 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, two millions kilograms of quality pre-loved items were donated and given a new life.

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

Reuse and upcycle tips

There are many other everyday items that we can reuse and upcycle instead of throwing into the bin and wasting these resources in landfill. Here are some 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 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 will help ensure Brisbane residents are equipped with all information and knowledge needed to ensure your garage sale is a fun and profitable 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, and hems can be 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 fine and the style is great, 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
18 January 2019