1 September 2023

Fight the war on waste - in style - at Moruya Markets on Saturday

| Zoe Cartwright
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Lily and Allana from the Eurobodalla Shire Council's waste minimisation team

Lily and Allana from the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s waste minimisation team will be at the Moruya Markets on Saturday hosting a clothes swap. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

It’s not often you get the opportunity to spruce up your wardrobe and do something good for the environment, all without spending a cent.

But that’s exactly what’s on offer this Saturday (2 September) at the Moruya Markets, when the Eurobodalla Shire Council’s waste minimisation team will hold their first clothes swap.

The rules are simple: bring five good-quality clothing items to donate, and in return, you get to take five pieces of clothing with you for free.

Waste minimisation officer Melanie Nolan said the swap would help to divert textiles from landfill and extend the life of clothes – both big wins for the environment.

“New clothes take a ridiculous amount of energy and water to produce, and natural items in landfill, like cotton and linen, produce methane,” she said.

“We each buy, on average, 15 kg of new clothes each year, and of that, 10 kg goes to landfill.

“Because we’re so regional, we don’t have any options for textile recycling, so we have to think outside the box.

“We are living in such a tough economic climate, and it’s a way for people to have a bit of fun too.”

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Clothes will be hung up on racks for easy viewing and trying. The swap is for everyone – all ages, genders and body types.

The most important thing is to bring nice stuff – clothing you’d gift to a good mate, nothing worn out, smelly, pilled or damaged, and no underwear, swimwear, old pyjamas or overworked gym gear.

It’s a good rule to keep in mind whenever – and wherever – you donate clothes.

Members of Vinnies will also come to the swap to educate the community about what kinds of donations they can and can’t accept.

“They have to send a lot to landfill because people treat them a bit like a dumping ground,” Mel said.

“Any good quality leftover clothes at the end of the day will go back to Vinnies to be sold.”

Textile recycling initiatives are unusual for rural and regional councils.

Without the facilities to recycle textiles themselves it can be difficult and costly to sort, pack and transport recyclable fabrics to where they can be used.

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But the waste minimisation team in the Eurobodalla want to do everything they can to reduce our landfill, and Mel said diverting textiles was a cause close to her heart.

“I love fabrics, and I love fashion, I really do, I studied textiles at school, but almost all my clothes come from Vinnies,” she said.

“I can’t stand a $300 price tag on a pair of jeans that are made for $5 overseas.

“It drives me nuts that we send good quality clothes to landfill when people are struggling to pay their mortgages.

“We can do better as a community, as human beings on Earth.

“The only way I can address this is in my own community, in my own shire, so if we start small and have a clothes swap, we’re helping the environment, extending the life of a product, saving money, and keeping things out of landfill.”

The council’s plant swap will run alongside the clothes swap, so if you bring a bag of weeds along as well you can spruce up your garden, and your wardrobe, for nothing.

The clothes swap will run at the Moruya Markets (Riverside Park) between 8 am and 12:30 pm this Saturday.

For more details go here.

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