REDUCE, REUSE: Volunteer Jamie Newell and employee Sarah O'Dwyer at Gladstone's St Vincent de Paul shop say regular customers keep using the organisation's enviro bags.
REDUCE, REUSE: Volunteer Jamie Newell and employee Sarah O'Dwyer at Gladstone's St Vincent de Paul shop say regular customers keep using the organisation's enviro bags. Julia Bartrim

Up-cycle as well as recycle for Global Recycling Day

THE plastic bag might not be banned just yet but St Vincent De Paul is already well onto it.

Gladstone's Vinnies stopped using plastic bags in May last year and has been encouraging customers to bring their own bags or purchase one of their enviro bags.

With Global Recycling Day being held for the first time tomorrow, it's worth thinking about the important role second-hand shops play in reducing landfill.

It is more economical and energy efficient to reuse products rather than recycle, so second-hand shops have been onto something that's taking the rest of Australia longer to get on board with.

Gladstone resident Sarah O'Dwyer has worked at Vinnies for five months.

"We get customers interested in up-cycling," she said.

"They get the old furniture, take it home and totally turn it into something brand new.

"When we sell pieces of furniture we print out ideas that (customers) can up-cycle into.

"Like (turning) a cracked fish tank into a terrarium or old television (cabinets) into (toy) kitchens."

Ms O'Dwyer said a great place to get ideas for up-cycling was on social networking sites such as Pinterest.

St Vinnie's Rockhampton Diocese regional manager Charmaine Tolhurst said donating to Vinnies was an excellent way to give items a second life.

"Proceeds from the sale of your up-cycled items will go towards Vinnies Queensland's many community programs, which include housing and homelessness support, mental health and youth programs, disaster relief and much more," she said.

Ms O' Dwyer said the enviro bags were proving popular with customers.

"We've been encouraging our customers to use the enviro bags and we've noticed our regulars bring theirs back in to use again," she said.



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