From waste to wellbeing | ourballarat spring 2022

The City of Ballarat’s Waste to Wellbeing program is working to empower the Ballarat community and businesses to improve social and economic wellbeing, using activities like reselling, reusing, sharing, repairing and composting to keep and create value from our waste.

Maeve Ryan and Wren Adriaans enjoy the Toy Library in Barkly Square.

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A range of Ballarat initiatives and businesses are transitioning to a circular economy where the primary focus is on reuse, repair and repurposing rather than throwing waste in the bin, where it ends up in landfill.

In conjunction with Circular Economy Victoria, the City of Ballarat is mapping out all the great circular economy initiatives taking place to encourage our community to avoid landfill and embrace reusing, repairing and repurposing.

Ballarat’s Barkly Square is home to 22 community-minded tenants who have some fantastic waste to wellbeing offerings, such as a tool library, a men’s shed, a wholefoods collective alongside the Toy Library and Suited for the Job.

The City of Ballarat is working to assist these initiatives to scale up and raise awareness of the circular economy options that already exist in our community.

Sharing toys

Hope Wiseman is one of the volunteers who runs the incredible Toy Library at Barkly Square – a child’s paradise full of colourful and varied play options for kids of all ages to borrow.

Drawn to the Toy Library 10 years ago, Hope wanted to provide current developmental toys for her then one-year-old, without filling her house up with toys that become quickly outdated.

“Kids grow so quickly, and their needs change so quickly, obviously they want new and more stimulation from their toys,” Hope says.

Hope receives enjoyment from volunteering and observing children pick out their toys.

“Kids can borrow what they want and if they love it, great – they can hold onto it for a few weeks, and if not, bring it back.

“It is such a great way to ensure toys are not wasted and taking up space at home.”

The Toy Library operates with donations of good quality toys and the
occasional purchased toy to ensure the circular economy continues to circle.

It is a fantastic way to ensure toys are not wasted or end up in landfill. So many good quality toys end up in the bin, due to children growing out of them, so this is the chance to give the toys another life and “allowing the toy to be enjoyed again and again”.

Well suited

Barkly Square is also home to Suited for the Job, a volunteer run boutique that provides wardrobe consultations and fittings for the financially disadvantaged, unemployed, homeless or those struggling with day-to-day finances.

Volunteer Sue Jakob who runs Suited for the Job says simply “putting on a nice pair of trousers and shirt can add to that level of confidence, which is going to help people to achieve their goals”.

Which is where Suited for the Job comes in to help guide those who need it.

Everyone is welcome to visit Sue and the team to get the full experience of trying on clothes, getting advice on what to wear for the occasion and walking away with a selection of clothes to assist them with their new job, interview, appointment, or the like, with confidence.

When discussing the notion of fast fashion, Sue is thrilled that Suited for the Job can offer good quality clothes and help save clothes from landfill and send them back into wardrobes where the items will be worn again.

Suited for the Job hopes to link up with local retailers to assist with their old season stock, increasing the sustainability of good quality fashion and giving it a second life.

The social value that Suited for the Job brings is invaluable – it benefits the volunteers as much as the people accessing the service.

Sue hopes one day the volunteering will also come full circle with those who once accessed the service, volunteering their time to help future clients.

For more information on the Waste to Wellbeing program visit