Posted by Faye Kirkwood
Rotary Caulfield’s Op Shop works towards sustainability by recycling the mountains of household items and materials from the mountains of waste that end up in landfill. 
For example, many modern fabrics in new clothing do not decompose (and if they do, it takes a long, long time).
So, donate your wearable clothes to Op Shops such as the one run by Rotary Caulfield.  Why not add to your wardrobe by shopping at your local Op Shop.
There are many more benefits to frequenting Op Shops other than trying to reduce the amounts of consumer goods going to land fill.  They are very friendly community spaces where it is acceptable that you may spend a considerable amount of time simply browsing the goods, with no pressure to buy.
Also, restoring, repairing, repurposing and upcycling Op Shop items provide an opportunity to indulge your creativity while taking environmentally sustainable actions. Op Shops contain many treasure troves of affordable fashion, homewares, books, artworks and unexpected “finds”.  Many Op Shops are not-for-profit, volunteer-run organizations that use proceeds from the sale of donated goods to support their charitable purposes and to put funding into your local community.  All Op Shops can only deal in clean, good quality, saleable items.  Before donating, check with the Op Shop for any restrictions on donations.  Donate your goods only during the shop’s opening hours and at the designated drop off point.
If you wish to support the development of independent locally owned Op Shops in Aboriginal communities in remote Australia, and provide wearable clothing, check the Remote Op Shop Project Facebook page
Organizations such as the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) are specialists in what they accept and sell.  The National Trust raises funds from the sale of Vintage Clothes and accessories.  It now has a permanent retail space at “Vault” in the Block Arcade on Collins Street, Melbourne.
Upcycling – items are completely reconstructed into an entirely new item which is not readily identifiable as its original purpose.  An example of recycling is on the cover of our booklet.  The dress was hand cut to size to create a timeless English royal look and has the elegance of an era long gone.
Repairs – on the second Sunday of every month between 2pm to 5pm, at the St Kilda Repair Café is at the Port Philip EcoCentre, 55A Blessington Street, St Kilda (Cnr Herbert Street) volunteers repair computers, bicycles, jewellery and clothing.  If interested in being involved contact 9807 9653.
Repurposing – is a creative challenge taking a particular item, deconstruct or alter it in some way or add it to another item to create a new but substantially a similar item. For example, a dress created from one or more dresses or fashion accessories to create a completely new style.
So, by upcycling, repairing or repurposing, you will not only become creative and have fun but also help our environment.