Being environmentally friendly has never been more important, and it is easier than you think to get the whole family on board the planet-saving train. Here’s our top Newcastle ways to get involved and become a family full of eco-warriors!
Feedback Organic Recovery One Hour Farmer Sessions
There’s nothing like getting your hands dirty! Feedback Organic Recovery runs weekly One Hour Farmer sessions where you can bring the family and learn to plant, grow and harvest your own organic food, using compost made from food waste collected from cafes, businesses and schools across Newcastle! Try your hand at harvesting carrots or radishes, weeding or composting and see what local food production is all about. Feedback also run One Hour Farmer Junior sessions on demand, especially for the little greenies!
Where: Feedback Organic Recovery’s Urban Farm at Cardiff Heights.
When: Saturday mornings, 8am – 12noon.
Newcastle Toy Library
Cut down on landfill and have access to a wide range of toys for all ages by joining your local toy library! A volunteer run organisation, Newcastle Toy Library allows children to borrow puzzles, Lego, ride-on toys, educational sets, baby toys, dress ups, musical instruments and more, for a small annual membership fee. Instead of buying cheaper, age limited toys, the toy library encourages families to try more classic, longer lasting toys and games before you buy them, then return them and try something else! It’s a win-win!
Where: Downstairs at New Lambton Library, Regent Street, New Lambton.
When: Saturday mornings, between 9:30am and 11.45am.
Pretty much the Toy Library for adults, ShareShop is a library of ‘things,’ allowing members to borrow stuff instead of having to buy it. How many times do you really use your tent? Or need a garden hedger? Joining a ShareShop is a great way to cut down on clutter at home, while reducing your household’s contribution to landfill when tools break or aren’t used. Run by volunteers, ShareShop encourages community interaction and living sustainably and you can also donate any of your unused tools or shed items in good condition!
Where: Pachamama House, Shed 1, 21 Gordon Ave, Hamilton.
When: Monday 10am-12noon, Wednesday 4-6pm, Saturday 10am-12noon.
Old clothes make up a huge portion of landfill each year, with materials like polyester taking up to 200 years to break down. Having a big clean out at your place but not sure what to do with the family’s old clothes? Some of our local fashion retailers actually accept clothing donations in store, which they donate to those in need and to make some pretty amazing new products like house insulation, car products and rags for the painting industry. H&M and Zaara both offer discount coupons in store for customers that donate unused clothes, and customers who donate pre-loved Country Road clothes to any Red Cross shop will receive a $10 credit at Country Road.
Where: H&M and Zaara stores Westfield, Kotara, and Red Cross stores at The Junction and Hamilton.
When: During store hours.
Return and Earn
Collecting used bottles and empty poppas and getting rewarded for recycling them is a fun and easy way to get the family interested in recycling! Sorting your bottles is a great activity to do with the kids and taking them along to your local Return and Earn, where they can help post them into the collection machine chute, saves this rubbish from landfill and rewards your young recyclers for their efforts. You can even donate the money you earn directly to charity and this teaches kids about doing their bit for their planet and others.
Where: There are a variety of container return sites, over the counter sites and donation sites across Newcastle, the Hunter and Nelson Bay.
What you first thought was trash, could easy turn into treasure, with the right ideas and perhaps a little guidance along the way! Transition Newcastle run workshops and Upcycling events across Newcastle, aimed at helping the local community to start seeing their waste as a starting point for something new. The Upcycle Newcastle Facebook page is chock full of tips and tricks to turn your ‘rubbish’ into wonderful new creations or bring the older kids and get involved in an upcoming workshop like how to mend your clothes, turn an old T-Shirt into a new skirt or gypsy pants or crochet it into a bag! Get creative and green at the same time!
Where: Upcycle Newcastle, Shed 7D, 50 Clyde Street, Hamilton.
When: Workshops are held at various times.
Want more environmentally-friendly lifestyle changers?
- Head to the Newcastle Farmers Markets and other farmers markets and reduce your food miles and waste by taking all your own bags with you.
- If you live in Lake Macquarie council area, join a Sustainable Neighbourhood group. These
groupsconsistof community volunteers who work together on a range of projects including sustainable living workshops, nature play activities and litter clean ups.
- Hit up Newcastle and the Hunter’s public transport circuit! Kids love nothing more than a trip on a train, bus or tram and you can leave the car behind!
- When you visit our beautiful beaches, lakes, National Parks and reserves, don’t leave empty-handed. Get the kids to pick up five pieces of rubbish each and take them home to recycle or put in the bin – every little bit counts!
- Walk, ride or scoot to preschool, daycare or school and take the time to appreciate nature and your local neighbourhood whilst cutting back on fossil fuels that a car trip produces.
- Plant a veggie garden! There’s no better way to teach children about where their food comes from and get them excited about eating fresh produce than by teaching them to grow it themselves!
When Odette Tonkin isn’t writing, she’s chasing after her four kids on their Newcastle urban acreage, surrounded by her veggie garden, chooks and bees! Odette has worked as a newsreader, public relations officer and spent over ten years as a writer and editor at Pacific Magazines, writing for a bunch of magazines including TV Hits, Girlfriend, K-Zone, Total Girl, New Idea and Famous.