Skip to main content
6 Women Recycle Rockstars you never heard of

6 Women Recycle Rockstars you never heard of

Right across Australia & around the world, inspiring women are rewriting the rules, rethinking trash, bringing grassroots change

We are a consumption oriented society and so we tend to consume first and deal with waste second. But increasingly, we are coming to realise that if we never created the problem in the first place, we'd have less trash to deal with. And that some trash isn't really trash at all, but another opportunity.

It's International Women’s Day on 8 March and we are really interested in trashy women. In fact, we’re celebrating 6 women recyclers that you need to hear way more about. 

EVENTS SINGLE USE TRASH: Christie Kamphuis and Sam Stone, bettercup

Christie Kamphuis and Sam Stone met over 12 years ago on a dance floor and have been friends ever since. Lovers of all things music, hospitality and entertainment related, they saw an opportunity for positive change in the large volumes of unnecessary waste at music festivals.

After researching alternatives and designing the necessary systems, they created bettercup. Now bettercup collaborates with event organisers of all shapes and sizes, introducing holistic waste management solutions - renting or selling cups, utensils and holistic waste management solutions that work specifically for music festivals and big events. 

PAINT: Karen Gomez, Paintback

Karen Gomez sys that Australians buy more than 100 million litres of paint per year and with 5% of that ending up as waste each year, unwanted paint is one of Australia’s most common sources of liquid waste found in landfill. Because the trade currently cannot use government-run schemes, which target households, disposing of paint safely means they must use commercial disposal services, which can cost as much as $4 a litre. And that is why Karen Gomez set up Paintback. The numbers just weren't viable for trade and in any event, there simply wasn't enough recycling of paint in Australia. 

Through the Paintback program, users are charged a 15c per litre on eligible paint products of leading paint brands in Australia, which means that when people dispose of their waste paint at a Paintback site they won’t incur any further charges, regardless of whether they’re a residential customer or a trade painter.

Collection points are now being established all over Australia. and Karen aims to have a collection service within 20–40 km of 85% of the population within five years.

BUSINESS LEFTOVERS & DISCARDS: Naomi Brennan, Sydney Reverse Garbage

Reverse Garbage is a creative reuse centre in Sydney who primarily take left over product from businesses and both sell it as well as run all manner of diy, art and kids workshops and events. Their aim is to reduce business waste disposal costs and  carbon footprints by donating discards and leftovers to Reverse Garbage instead of  recycling. 

COMMERCIAL FOOD: Katy Barfield, Yume

Yume is a commercial food powerhose, founded in 2014 by food rescue veteran, Katy Barfield. Around 9.5 million tonnes of food is discarded each year with 3.9 million tonnes of which is from the commercial food sector. It’s estimated that between 400,000 and 600,000 tonnes of that food is accessible, edible, quality food and could not just be rescued, but used, eaten and enjoyed.

Katy is a food rescue veteran and the original founding CEO of SecondBite and was determined to find a way to dramatically reduce the 3.9 million tonnes of food going to waste in the commercial food sector each year. Yume is a surplus food marketplace that rescues and onsells commercial quantities of food.

PRODUCE: Helen Andrew, Spare Harvest

Helen Andrew started Spare Harvest after moving to acreage on the Sunshine Coast and finding herself with way too many mandarins to eat. Despite trying to give them away, she ended up having to bury them. Starting with a connection at her son’s school who helped her built the first version of Spare Harvest on a simple Wordpress site. The first 100 people signed up – and Spare Harvest is now solid enough to support up to 1 million users.

Spare Harvest is about connecting a community of like-minded people who want to live a more sustainable lifestyle – and where everyone contributes what they can. A Sunshine Coast hotel was one of the first businesses to adopt the program and are a great example of how the share system can easily extend to business. In the hospitality industry, businesses can be a bit hamstrung when it comes to reducing food waste due to government regulations around food safety. But they can still make an impact by encouraging staff to share their surplus with others in the business they might otherwise never get to talk to.

REMADE FABRIC RE-USE BAGS: Tania Potts and Jordyn de Boer, Boomerang Bags

In 2013, way before the single use plastic bag ban, Tania and Jordyn wondered how they could help reduce plastic. One conversation lead to another and eventually to the creation of a platform that supports the diversion of post-consumer material - mostly fabrics, that are made into reusable bags to replace plastic bags and most importantly, start conversations within communities. 

The simple concept is that community members make shopping bags from left over fabrics. The bags are left at local shopping venues on a return / reuse honour system. The pilot project in Burleigh Heads created such a buzz among the local community that other communities around Australia quickly joined. Years later, there are more than 800 Boomerang Bags communities up and running around the globe. 


Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Lexie Mamo
Marketing

Love this!! Thursday, 5 March 2020