Who doesn't like getting new stuff? But increasingly we are becoming aware of the environmental impact of our throw-away society. And, in this time of economic trouble many of us are reconsidering our spending and also trying to get better value out of the things we buy.
Planet Ark's recent 2009 National Recycling Week (9-15 November 2009) was aimed at helping people get new things without harming the planet.
Councils, schools and workplaces across the country hosted a Big Aussie Swap Party in their area to help people exchange items and keep them in use.
Swappers at the 2008 Swap Party on Martin Place Sydney
How does a Swap Party work? You bring items from home that you no longer want, hand it over to a staff member who gives you a token for each item. They then display all the items and you get a chance to look around. At a set time, the Swap is declared 'open' and you can claim as many items as you have tokens. The type of items that can be swapped at a party varies. The most common items are clothes and accessories. Books, DVD, CDs, toys, children's clothes, tools, sports equipment and ornaments are also common.
Apart from being a way to get new stuff, Swap Parties also have a positive environmental benefit. Picking up a single cotton dress at a Swap Party rather than buying one saves about 22,000 litres of water.
Visit RecyclingWeek.PlanetArk.org for a guide on how to host your own Swap Party and information on what you can recycle in your local area. Connect with the Big Aussie Swap community on facebook.com/planetark and twitter.com/planetark (#ozswap).