Managing waste wisely

How to source things you need without buying them new

When we think about managing waste, recycling is often the first strategy that comes to mind. But what about avoiding waste in the first place by reusing what we have?

To create a circular economy, we need to think about where an item comes from and how it can fulfil its potential – not just where it’s going to go at the end of its life. That’s where the principle of REUSE comes in.

Reuse can mean:

  • Borrowing
  • Renting
  • Gifting
  • Sharing
  • Repairing
  • Upcycling, and
  • Sourcing second-hand.


If we can find ways to make the things we have last longer, we’ll buy, use, and throw away less stuff (which also means less clutter in our homes!).

Here’s a handy guide to sourcing the items you need without buying new.

Anything and everything

Service How it works
Buy Nothing Project – Facebook or app Join your local group and request something you need, or browse the items people are offering in your suburb. Be sure to follow the group etiquette and be respectful of others. Everything on Buy Nothing must be gifted for free.
Facebook Marketplace Platform to buy and sell preloved goods.
Gumtree Platform to buy and sell preloved goods.
Olio Not on Facebook? Olio is a great alternative to the Buy Nothing Project. Download the app to search for what you need. Everything on Olio must be gifted for free.
Garage Sale Trail November means only one thing – it’s time for Australia’s biggest garage sale! Join the trail and search by location to see garage sales and markets close to you.
Tool library We love the Tools ’n’ Things Library located in Leederville. For an annual membership fee of $75, you can borrow from their collection of camping gear, appliances, tools, electronics, sporting equipment and more. Great for those items you only need occasionally.
Op shops Don’t forget to give your local op shop a visit and support a charity while you’re at it.
GarageSaleIt A marketplace to buy and sell preloved goods.

Clothes, accessories and shoes

Service How it works
Wardrobe Refresh Come along to a WMRC Wardrobe Refresh event to swap items you no longer want and find some preloved gems. Or host your own!
Depop A platform to buy and sell preloved clothes, shoes and accessories.
Poshmark A platform to buy and sell preloved clothes, shoes and accessories.
Consignment store Preloved high-end designer pieces at a fraction of the retail price. Try The Secret Closet in Subiaco or Helen Swift Designer Consignments in Cottesloe.
Dress hire boutique For formal dresses, jewellery, and bags you’ll only need once or twice, why not hire? Some local boutiques include HUSH Hire and O.N.S in Subiaco, or try an online platform like The Volte.
Bindaring Clothing Sale This annual event is one of Perth’s biggest and best preloved clothing sales, and all funds raised go to the Red Cross.
Frock Up at Cambridge Library Cambridge Library in Floreat has a range of formal dresses that members can borrow for free. Find out more here or send an email to arrange a time to try on.
Buy Nothing Project – Facebook or app Many Buy Nothing groups have a ‘travelling suitcase’ – a case or bag of clothes in a particular size that gets passed around, with members adding and taking items as it travels around. If your local group doesn’t already have one, why not start one?

Other items

Item Service
Toys Join a toy library. There are libraries in Subiaco, Cottesloe, Claremont, Nedlands and Cambridge.
Books, magazines, DVDs, puzzles, audiobooks Your local library is free to join and has much more than books!
Books The Paraquad Book Bazaar and the Save the Children Book Sale at UWA have a huge range of second-hand titles. And why not see if there’s a Street Library near you?
Party decorations Instead of spending money on decorations you’ll only use once, borrow some bunting from the Borrow and Share Bunting Library.
Reusable party gear Borrow a kit with everything you need (plates, cups, cutlery, tablecloths and more) from the Party Kit Network.
Plastic plant pots Stock up on plastic plant pots for free at the West Metro Recycling Centre.

Another way to get the most out of our stuff and avoid buying new is simply to look after the things we already have.

Learn how to clean and care for your possessions correctly to make them last longer. For things that are in need of repair, including toys, clothing, bikes and household items, Repair Lab and Repair Café Perth are local groups that can help fix them – and even show you how so you can do it yourself. For clothing alterations and repairs, get to know your local tailor or teach yourself to fix buttons and rips – there are heaps of resources on YouTube to help you learn.

Want to get rid of something you no longer need? We can do better than landfill – and often we can even do better than recycling. Lots of the services listed above can also be used for selling, donating or gifting; and you can find even more alternatives for things that are too good for the bin on our reuse options page.