Recycling and sustainability

How we are stopping beautiful and useful items going to landfill

When you step inside one of The Sewing Basket shops you will marvel at the colour, quality, and range of products on offer – and you'll be drawn to our friendly team.

The shops in Newington and Balmain and Kincumber are staffed by people with disability and volunteers. All fabrics and patterns, patchwork, embroidery materials, knitting and crochet yarn, haberdashery, and more have been donated by the community.

This means when you shop with us, you are diverting beautiful and useful pre-loved items from landfill.

According to April 2021 data from the Ministry for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Australians discard close to 800,000 tones of clothing and textiles annually or about 15 tonnes every 10 minutes.

It’s a win, win, win

The Sewing Basket of today has a strong following with sewing and craft enthusiasts. Our customers love browsing our well-priced stock while supporting social inclusion and sustainability.

The Sewing Basket is proud of our record of promoting environmental sustainability through re-use and upcycling. In September 2020, we took part in the Sustainable Business Showcase on the Central Coast promoting our reuse credentials.

The social enterprise started in 1998 as an annual fabric and needlecraft fundraiser for Crowle House in Meadowbank, which was at that time a residence, school and training centre for people with disability.

Through the years, the store moved to ever bigger premises ending up in Newington before opening new stores in Balmain and Kincumber.

 

How we recycle items that cannot be sold

Items donated to The Sewing Basket are sorted to ensure only the most useful and best quality items are displayed for sale in our stores.

However, true to our sustainability quest, we pass donations that cannot be sold to companies looking for materials to make upcycled products.

The Circular Centre

One of these is The Circular Centre, which takes the materials we provide and shreds them to stuff punching bags, create carpet underlay, acoustic wall panelling and more.

The Circular Centre processes materials locally instead of offshore like some companies representing an additional environmental gain.

In late 2020, the Circular Centre started the ‘Circular Textile Waste Service’ after winning a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As part of the pilot to create the service, supported employees from our Achievable Enterprises team completed a 5-week recycling and repurposing textiles training course with The Circular Centre. The team then worked for 3 weeks sorting, cataloguing and dismantling items of clothing and textiles for repurposing.

Teaming up to create Boomerang Bags

The Sewing Basket donated fabric to the Boomerang Bag campaign designed to replace the use of plastic shopping bags with cloth bags. Boomerang Bags have also been made to give to wildlife groups to house injured animals, particularly after the 2019 fires.

Started on the Gold Coast by two friends, the Boomerang Bag campaign has led to sewing groups across Australia starting to find purpose and community by making bags together.

According to the founders of the campaign, more than 450,000 Boomerang Bags have helped to divert 165,000 tonnes of waste from landfill.