Simple Constructive Ways to start Recycling and Helping Others

conversationswithmysister_Recycling and Helping Others
Posted by on November 10, 2014
Everyone can do simple things to make a difference and every little bit really does count.
Stella McCartney


This week is National Recycling Week so these ideas have been gathered as inspiration to rethink how we dispose of unwanted items. The intention is to provide a few options of how to reuse pieces by passing them on to support someone in need.

There is a growing movement of individuals and organisations who are doing a brilliant job of educating and providing us with simple, yet constructive ways to recycle and have a positive impact on other peoples lives.

Here are five of them…

1. Prescription Glasses


conversationswithmysister_Recycling and Helping Others


Carenza is a lady who regulary travels to India to the little village Soro, Orissa with a bag of prescription glasses saved for her by her optometrist in Bulimba. On arrival, Carenza sets about¬†and¬†organises a local¬†optometrist to visit the slums and together they assign the glasses to the people who suit the script the best. Any glasses which don’t meet with a match, while she is on her travels, gets donated to the local villagers and can fetch up to a months wages when they eventually resell them. Carenza doesn’t work for any one charity or organisation she is just proactive and dedicated to helping by doing what she says is “really not much compared to what other people do”. I find that hard to believe!

It was during this most inspiring conversation with Carenza that I learnt, regardless of how bad the eye sight is for these people in India, it is only the very wealthy people who have the privilege of wearing glasses. Even the simple act of having a consultation with an Eye Doctor is unobtainable for the residents of the rice villages that Carenza visits so, the possibility of being fitted with prescription glasses is just out of this world.

Carissa is passionate about helping and is motivated by the reaction of the undescribable joy she gets to witness time and time again when the glasses she donates is met with a good match. Most of the people she helps have lived their whole lives unable to see clearly which affects their overall health and ability to provide for their family. I personally have worn glasses full time since Primary School and can appreciate first hand the emotion which would result from those initial moments of finally being able to see clearly.

Carenza finishes our conversation saying she wishes she could take all the unused glasses in Australia with her on her travels.  It is easy to believe that there is never enough pairs to go to everyone in need.

What do you do with your old prescription glasses once they are updated with new ones?

All of you who wish to help Carenza by donating¬†your old glasses can email her directly at: She has my old ones heading her way and I couldn’t be happier that they are going to make a positive impact on someone’s life.


2. Givit


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Givit is a not-for-profit organisation inspiring and connecting an online network of givers. This online operation relies on a dedicated team predominately consisting of volunteers, which means donations can be forwarded to help those in need rather than cover administrative costs. 950 authenticated charities are connected to the GIVIT network and directly deliver items to under privileged people when they need it the most. The organisation was established in 2009 and since that time they have responded to 126,000 urgent requests from vulnerable members within the community. During the 2011 Queensland floods the website had 1.8M hits in 10 days and more than 33,000 goods were matched exactly and delivered within three weeks to help struggling communities with their recovery.

Donating is easy:
1. Find a donation within your means
2. Click GIVIT
3. Then GIVIT

Charities will search the GIVIT virtual warehouse for items which have been pledged, then GIVIT will connect you both if they find what they need. You liaise with the charity and organise whether the item(s) need to be picked up, posted or delivered directly to the charity. If these charities can’t find what they are looking for on the GIVIT site, they will request it by adding it to the list of what’s needed. That way you can scroll through and see if you have any item(s) that match.

This system is perfect for people who prefer to pass on unneeded quality items to a specific someone who really needs it, is impoverished, or vulnerable. A great friend of mine is the inspiration behind this story. She recently donated her youngest child’s cot to the Young Parents Program via GIVIT¬†– turns out they are always in need of baby items. It was important to her that the cot went specifically to someone who was desperate for support and she was more than happy to personally deliver it to the agreed drop off point to ensure this happened. She has also donated a Christmas Tree to the Cerebral Palsy League.

What do you have at home that you no longer need which has the potential to change and positively impact someones life? It is quite possible that something you donate could be¬†just the thing a person needs¬†to lift¬†them out of poverty…


3. Garage Sale Trail


conversationswithmysister_Recycling and Helping Others_garage sale trail


A Garage Sale is a great way to pass on unwanted items and make some extra money at the same time. You can hold a garage sale when ever it suits you or, work with the ‘safety in numbers’ theory and register with the annual Garage Sale Trail.

Saturday 25 October 2014 was the fourth annual National Garage Sale Trail promoting sustainability, community, commerce and fun. For one-day only thousands of garage sales are held simultaneously around Australia. This event began in Bondi in 2010 and was so successful it was esablished as a nationwide event the very next year.

In 2014 there was 6M+ items listed, 350+ people involved with 8242 garage sales located within homes, schools and businesses.

Here are two ways to participate:

1. Seller
Register your own sale via the Garage Sale Trail website and set up an online profile. You will receive a Participation Pack including posters and pricing stickers, then you are good to declutter, reuse, make some money and meet your neighbours.

2. Buyer
Set out on the trail. Head to the Garage Sale Trail website, type in your postcode and the amount of kilometres you are willing to travel. You can do some research by reading the online profiles of all the sellers and save your favourites or, just follow the pin pointed locations on the map.

This year there were 33 sales listed within 2km’s of our home, so our Family enjoyed a terrific morning on the trail. All of us managed to grab a bargain, discover another’s unused treasure and have heaps of fun supporting this huge sustainability event. Photos of our favourite finds are on the CWMS Instagram page. Click on the link for a sticky beak!!


4. Charity Shops + Home Pick Up


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For years we have all donated items we no longer need to our local charity shops. These organisations then sort and distribute them into their stores and they become affordable pre-loved items. I don’t know about you, but I have many little one-off treasures thanks to a great find in an op-shop. Quite often it is these items which trigger the most compliments when I am out and about.

Vinnie’s is our local store and like any other charitable business, the day to day runnings are reliant on volunteers. These people generously donate their time and spend hours sorting through donations to ensure they are in good enough condition to be sold or donated to their refuges.¬†It is estimated that¬†over 500,000 kgs of generously donated items are unable to be reused and disposing of them cuts into valuable time and funds which could be more productively spent. We can help by being selective when putting aside items and ‘sortsmart’.

Did you know that if donating larger furniture items to Vinnies ,you can arrange for them to be picked up from your home? If you can place the items you are donating in an easily accessible place, you don’t even need to be there when the truck arrives. Follow this link to their website for contact details in your local area.


5. Sustainable Food Systems – leaving you with something to ponder…

conversationswithmysister_Recycling and Helping Others_Sustainable Table

The first four individuals and organisations are encouraging positive actions around recycling household materials and possessions. However The Sustainable Table is an organisation which is all about educating us on the effect we are having on our environment with our current global food practices. Their message is to educate us on how we can create positive habits and use our consumer power to build a more sustainable food future for us all.

The Sustainable Table support projects locally including but not limited to; encouraging farmers markets, food co-ops, community gardens and ethically grown meat and seafood. They are also empowering people in poverty stricken countries around the world to restore their communities natural environments and assist with the ongoing survival needs of providing a sustainable food system.

Each year in October The Sustainable Table runs a campaign called ‘Give a Fork!’ Participating is a fun way to actively support the #wastefree cause and help raise the much needed funds to continue with the education and to provide support to people less fortunate than ourselves. In 2013 the focus was on Sustainable Seafood and in 2014, with the support of their Ambassadors Tim Silverwood, Sarah Wilson and Costa Georgiadis, the message was around Food and Packaging Waste. Did you know Australian’s waste $8BN worth of food and throw away enough packaging to fill the MCG nine times over – this statement is completely mind boggling!

Although we weren’t able to host a waste-free dinner party or have the opportunity to enjoy a meal at one of the participating restaurants, lately our chickens and compost bin haven’t been enjoying as much ‘scraps’ as they are perhaps accustomed to. Now unused bones, along with skins and stalks of vegetables, are boiled up for homemade ‘gut healing, nutrient dense’ stock and fruits and vegetables are blended into smoothies if they are starting to show signs of over-ripening. So so simple – why haven’t I been doing this all along?

These organisations have been chosen for this story due to my personal experience and/or involvement with them. If anyone has had an experience with an individual or organisation not mentioned in this post, I would love it if you had time to share their story either in the comment section below or via the CWMS Facebook Page.

I sincerly hope these ideas inspire you to constructive action. Together we can do simple things to help people who can use some positive changes in their lives.

This journey, to making constructive choices, is certainly becoming interesting that’s for sure!

– Shea

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