Meet the community garden going above and beyond to reduce waste  

REduce waste

2023 is just over a month away and if you’re looking for some sustainable resolutions to start the new year right, meet Tarragindi Community Garden, the winner of Brisbane City Council’s Outstanding WasteSMART Award sponsored by IKEA North Lakes and Logan. 

Tucked away just off the highway in Tarragindi, this community garden was set up in 2020 with the vision of a shared backyard for all to come and harvest free produce and herbs, as a way of addressing food insecurity and the issue of social isolation throughout the pandemic. 

Since a local sustainability advocate, Renae McBrien, founded the garden she has worked with a team of volunteers to grow this unique green space to include a community composting hub and a recycling hub, which has tackled much more than food and organic waste. 

In the past year alone a team of volunteers over the course of 1150 hours have recycled: 

Bottle top lids  
Renae standing with a man holding a bucket of bottle lids
Garden founder, Renae McBrien recycling plastic bottle lids in partnership with Resitech.

Through their recycling hub they’ve diverted 920kg of bottle top lids from landfill, connecting them directly with plastic manufacturer Resitech at Wacol. Resitech have a large facility that extrude, melt and remould recycled plastic into Brisbane-made products, creating jobs in recycling for local sustainable businesses. 

Organic food and garden waste  
Compost bins

Their Brisbane City Council Community Composting Hub processed 14850kg of organic waste, using what they needed in their garden and giving the rest away to their community for free. In the past year they have given away approximately 3200L of compost to their community. 

Pool toys, umbrellas and shower curtains

1988kg of pool toys, umbrellas and shower curtains were recycled and repurposed at PLOYS, a Bundaberg business that creates swim bags and library bags from the recycled PVC. 

Bread tags   
bags full of bread tags

More than 180kg of Brisbane plastic bread tags, collecting them from hospitals, schools and childcare centres across Brisbane. 

Metal lids 
bag full of metal lids

The community worked together to recycle 515kg of beer and wine metal lids and recycled them through their hub. The lids were then donated to United Scrap Metal at Hemmant, again removing precious metal from landfill, creating a viable Brisbane recycling industry.  

Fishing rods, hand reels and tackle boxes 
A boot full of fishing gear

In response to the devastating Tsunami in Tonga, they answered the call out from villages for any second-hand fishing gear. As a result, their community repurposed 115 fishing rods, 46 hand reels and 21 tackle boxes to support Tongan livelihoods. 

Sustainable markets 
Crowds at the sustainable markets

In addition to their recycling efforts, they also kickstarted two sustainable markets to forge local connections and to support local sustainable business. Their volunteer group hosted a Tarragindi Christmas Market and a Tarragindi Mother’s Day Market over the past year. These markets supported local groups like Scouts and Greenslopes Woodturners, as well as local school children who baked to raise money for the RSPCA and other charities. More than 5000 people attended each market, generating an estimated $35,000 in revenue for local sustainable businesses. 

Get in touch 
Women gardening

If you’re feeling inspired by any of the above and would love to be part of this incredible community or start something similar in your neck of the woods, contact Tarragindi Community Gardens via their Facebook page

Tarragindi Community Garden won Brisbane City Council’s Outstanding WasteSMART Award sponsored by IKEA North Lakes and Logan.  

IKEA are leading the way in making sustainable living affordable, attractive and accessible for their customers. Their furniture buy-back scheme expects to save up to 15,000 pieces of furniture from landfill each year across Australia. They are committed to transforming into a circular business by prolonging the life of products through services such as furniture buy-back, as well as using materials and resources in smarter ways. 

The author

Hannah Turner

Hannah works at Brisbane Sustainability Agency in the marketing team delivering sustainable events to help create a clean and green city. When she’s not in the office you’ll most likely find her thrifting at an op shop in Brisbane somewhere!

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