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Changemakers challenge Coast businesses

Sunshine Coast businesses are being encouraged to join the circular economy – it’s better for people and the planet.

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Changemakers challenge Coast businesses

Sunshine Coast businesses are being encouraged to join the circular economy – it’s better for people and the planet.

Repurpose, reuse, recommerce, reduce, repair, recycle. This is the ethos behind the The World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS).

This not-for-profit business collects the unused, the pre-loved, the second-hand, then sorts and sells it. Since its inception in 2013, the WBGS has diverted over three million kilograms of potential waste from landfill.

Brisbane-based WBGS founder Yasmin Grigaliunas says as a social enterprise, the business is leading the charge toward a truly circular economy. This means that your purchase is guaranteed to benefit people (employment), the planet (reuse, renew, repair, repurpose, recycle) and to provide purpose (community engagement, education, support).

Before COVID-19, Ms  Grigaliunas conducted physical sales but has now taken the business online and doubling her customers, with plans to roll out the model on the Sunshine Coast.

“On our biggest online day, we had 20,000 people,” she says.

Ms  Grigaliunas is known as a circular economy pioneer in Australia, driving this industry forward by innovating, collaborating, connecting, and mobilising multiple stakeholders towards a shared vision, all while providing social good.

Michelle Christoe and her husband Ian Van der Woude are passionate Sunshine Coast business owners who will soon launch the NightQuarter, an award-winning night market and entertainment venue offering street food and live music. The market is primarily made of recycled materials and offers sustainable workshops and demonstrations.

They are currently empowering the community to practice its reduce, repair, and recycle habits through the NightQuarter Repair Lab initiative.

Along with a group of like-minded business owners, they are taking part in a series of online conversations challenging Sunshine Coast business leaders to shift to a circular economy.

Environment and liveability portfolio councillor Peter Cox says the series is part of a broader program by the council to encourage sustainability in businesses and homes.

“Living sustainably is about being creative and doing more with less, which has a win-win benefit for ourselves, our environment, broader community and our hip pocket,” Cr Cox says.

“Council is partnering with business leaders throughout the community to embed innovative sustainability practices, support new business opportunities and increase profitability.

“Sustainable living is core to our Environment and Liveability Strategy and this event series is just one of the many projects and initiatives helping to achieve a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast.”

The virtual event kicked off with Ms Grigaliunas and Ms Christoe challenging the ‘business as usual’ approach, with a number of follow-up conversations.

“I am so excited to be part of this conversation and help Sunshine Coast businesses learn how to provide positive impact for people, the planet and profit for purpose,” Ms Grigaliunas says.

Ms Christoe adds: “Sustainable initiatives are something I’m incredibly passionate about and I can’t wait to share my own learnings when it comes to changing the way we can all do things in business.

Join the livestream on the Living Smart website at livingsmartqld.com.au/crafting-a-circular-economy. Find out more about the Sunshine Coast Council’s Environment and Livability Strategy at els.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au.

FAST FACTS

Living Smart aims to empower the community to adopt simple changes towards sustainable living. Since its inception, over 500,000 people have been engaged through the program.

The program offers:

  • campaigns to support targeted behaviour change such as BYOSunshine Coast
  • local sustainability stories and blogs
  • useful resources and information
  • community programs to inspire, connect and build capacity to consider and adopt sustainable living behaviours.

The themes of the program cover the following areas:

  • waste reduction and circular economies
  • supporting local food systems
  • seasonal gardening
  • conscious consumerism
  • building and design
  • energy efficiency and renewable energy
  • social/community connection
  • health and wellbeing
  • play, recreation and family fun.

Find out more on the Living Smart website at livingsmartqld.com.au.

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