The reuse shop, located at the Greater Toowoomba Waste Management Facility in Wellcamp, is more than just a shop; it is a community hub with a garden and community engagement at its core. Reviva is part of Resource Recovery Australia (RRA), a social enterprise that partners with Toowoomba Regional Council to divert waste from landfill and create stable and meaningful jobs for people experiencing barriers to work. RRA employs 94 people in sites across Australia.
This week the Reviva team unveiled an extension to their reuse garden, a community space at the shop’s entry. The garden is a sensory playground of colours and fun repurposing ideas.
“We want the garden to be a community space that encourages imagination, fun and reuse,” RRA Deputy General Manager Ally Glendenning explained. “We already had a community herb garden and some fun character planters but this week we added dozens of reimagined items from the store. We want to encourage the whole community, people from all walks of life, to come and explore, to experience reuse in action. You never know what characters you might find.” The team’s passion for reuse and repurposing is strong.
“I love giving an item a second life, reimagining what it could be and creating a whole new item with just my imagination and some elbow grease. We have repurposed a cable wheel into a table, a car bonnet into a chair, and even a fire pole into an oversized fidget spinner. The repurposing possibilities are endless.” Chris Behan, previously a Lifeline volunteer, loves the community aspect of his job at Reviva Toowomba. “It’s good to hear people’s stories and do whatever you can to help them. People may be struggling, you don’t know what they are going through but you can help them out, even if it’s just something to put in their garden or something they can use around the house.” “We are a real part of the community. Through Facebook we are reaching even more people now. We’ve had morning teas to invite the public in and we tell them all about Reviva and our social goals. We want to be a community-based organisation that people can rely on.” Since opening in December 2018, Reviva Toowoomba has been responsible for diverting 633 tonnes or 40 truckloads of waste from landfill for reuse and repurposing. The operation employed 10 people and served more than 11,000 customers from the local community. Toowoomba Regional Council Water and Waste portfolio leader Cr Nancy Sommerfield said Council was pleased to partner with its lessee Reviva Toowoomba to help spread the importance of reducing, reusing and recycling precious resources, in line with strategic goals. Cr Sommerfield said residents could drop off materials for the Reviva Re-use Shop at the Resource Recovery Area when visiting the Greater Toowoomba Waste Management Facility (GTWMF) at O’Mara Road.
“Residents have helped Council achieve up to a 70% diversion rate of material from landfill following the opening of the GTWMF in December 2015,” Cr Sommerfield said. “Reviva’s work highlights the best use of resources and shows how the ‘circular economy’ places value on materials that are recycled for a new purpose.”
For a full list of recyclable items, please visit www.tr.qld.gov.au/recycling Reviva Toowoomba is open to the public Thursday to Sunday 9am – 4pm. The store has moved to cashless payments due to COVID-19 with social distancing and cleaning also in place.