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Your Hair & the Next Oil Spill: Down & Dirty Recyclers & Upcyclers

Your Hair & the Next Oil Spill: Down & Dirty Recyclers & Upcyclers

Hair, old shoes & food scraps. Who'd have thought that all this trash would end up being someone treasure, or even turn someone's life around?

The hair on this head above is destined to help clear an oil spill off the coast of Australia. Old sports shoes are being dropped off at Outdoor stores. Food scraps are going over the fence to a neighbour or into a scrap bin for collection by a huge worm farm project and pieces of old bicycles are being given to charities who teach kids in need to rebuild them into new bikes, while they turn their lives around.

Across Australia and around the world there is a growing band of charities, social enterprises and entrepreneurs who are diverting waste from landfill and either helping you give it to someone or turning it into something really useful. Here is a few of our current favs:

HAIR: Sustainable Salons Australia

Co-founder of Sustainable Salons Australia, Paul Frasca, took 8 years to develop their recycling program which finally launched 2 years ago. Now with hundreds of salons around Australia using their recycling services, SSA are diverting waste to all kinds of amazing places and profits to OzHarvest. Shaun McGrath, hairdresser extraordinaire, gives you a wrap of where things go in this video.

SPORTS SHOES: Shoes for Planet Earth

If you have old shoes you no longer need, Shoes for Planet Earth collect your old sports shoes through a number of outlets around Australia like schools, podiatrists, shoe stores, gyms, churches, individuals etc. (If you are a business and think you can help, contact Shoes for Planet Earth direct.)

Shoes for Planet Earth pack and send donated shoes to those in need all over Australia as well as many international communities. These include homeless shelters, youth and female crisis centres, indigenous community sporting groups, orphanages, churches, flood and other disaster victims.

FOOD SCRAPS: Sharewaste | Mallow Sustainability

You have to respect anyone who wakes up one day and wants to take your left over food and scraps off your hands! Sharewaste is a worldwide app started in Sydney and is all about turning food scraps into community by sharing it around! Sharewaste have Hosts - people with compost, worm farm or keep chickens and Donors - those looking to recycle their household organic waste. 

Hosts register their compost, worm farm or chickens, with Sharewaste, which appears as a marker on the map. Donors can then find hosts on the map, contact them via the app messaging system and start contributing their scraps. The final product of the recycling process can be used in hosts garden or shared with the donor.

Mallow Sustainability in Brisbane collect food waste such as coffee grinds, fruit and vegetable scraps and other organic waste such as compostable coffee cups from businesses and homes around Brisbane. They then use a combination of composting and worm farming to break down organic material. The best part about Mallow Sustainability is that they use the waste they collect to grow more food and supply organic, local, seasonal produce to Cafes and Restaurants in the Brisbane area. So much to love about that! 


Traction is a youth mentoring program in Brisbane that collects old bikes and uses them to mentor young kids in need. The program collects old & unwanted bicycles, motor bikes and bike parts and the kids turn them into new bikes. Each child has a mentor who teaches them to clean, rebuild and decorate their own bike, which they keep. 

In Brisbane, you can drop off bikes to West End, Capalaba and Moorooka. You can also donate your mentoring skills and time! 

You can recycle, reuse and repurpose the most amazing things. Find out what you can recycle, where and how using the Recycle Location Search to discover where you can take your materials for recycling. Or use our Guides to understand what's in different materials and what your options are for disposal, reuse or upcycling. 

If you are a Recycler and want to be added to our directory, simply contact us and we will set you up for Customers to find you.

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