The Green Edition: Sustainability Within Our Community


March 22, 2024


In honour of Earth Day 2024, The Commons is embracing sustainability with the "Green Edition" throughout April.

In honour of Earth Day 2024, The Commons is embracing sustainability with the "Green Edition" throughout April.

This month, we're dedicating ourselves to everything eco-friendly and environmentally conscious - we've met with some members across our Sydney and Melbourne locations to speak about their businesses within The Commons and the sustainable practices that are integrated into their daily lives. From our Chippendale location, we learnt more about the team at the Joy of Giving, through their programme, they help children find joy in pre-loved toys while also making sure the toys people are giving away don't end up in landfill.

The Joy of Giving started back in 2019, a group of like-minded friends were inspired by their shared experiences in raising children and their belief in the importance of teaching them about the values of giving. The vision to foster a sustainable environment for their children came to fruition through the creation of a platform for exchanging pre-loved toys among kids.

What inspired the Joy of Giving?

We understand the importance of toys for child development, but like many parents, our household is overrun by the sheer quantity of toys. Joy of Giving is inspired by the potential for toys to make a positive impact on both the environment and the community, as well as the joy that comes from sharing and giving.

What is your "sustainable impact"?

The environmental impact of toys is significant and often underestimated. Studies reveal that toys have a short lifespan, with children losing interest in them within as little as 36 days, sometimes after just 11 hours of play.

In 2023, Joy of Giving made a substantial impact by saving over 2 tonnes of toys valued at over $100,000. Our events and toy station program brought joy to thousands of families. Additionally, we conduct educational workshops on pre-loved toys, teaching children about sustainability and providing them with hands-on learning experiences.

In Australia, 27 million toys end up in landfills annually, contributing to 6% of global plastic landfill waste.

How has working at The Commons helped your journey as a Not-for-profit company?

Joy of Giving is a non-government funded registered charity. We are incredibly grateful to have received the Commons scholarships for memberships, which have had a profound impact on our organisation, both financially and in terms of recognition for our work.

Membership in the Commons community offers us the chance to connect with likeminded individuals and organisations who share our values and provides a space for collaboration and meetings. We value this opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals and organisations.

How can we be more sustainable in our everyday lives and support the Joy of Giving?

Joy of Giving is a passionate advocate and educator for the principles of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. One impactful lifestyle change is to steer clear of fast-fashion products, including toys and clothing. We encourage everyone to opt for high-quality items made from sustainable materials. When it comes to toys and children's products, prioritise safety, durability, and creativity. This approach ensures that toys are used more effectively and have a longer lifespan.

When children outgrow their toys, parents can involve them in cleaning, inspecting, and preparing the toys for reuse. Toys can be passed on or exchanged with friends and neighbours. Organisations like Joy of Giving provide excellent platforms for toy exchange and sharing. If toys are in less-than-ideal condition, consider recycling them through local councils or businesses before resorting to disposal in landfills.

A simple gesture can significantly reduce our landfill waste and contribute to a more sustainable environment. Join us in making a difference today.

We also spoke with WaterAid Australia, whose team works out of The Commons QV in the heart of Melbourne's CBD. WaterAid enables the world's poorest people to gain access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, allowing them to unlock their potential.

What does WaterAid do?

WaterAid is an international not-for-profit, determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. We work alongside communities worldwide to secure these three essentials that transform people’s lives. Without all three, people can’t live dignified, healthy lives. With all three, they can unlock their potential, break free from poverty, and change their lives for good. Children grow up healthy and strong, women and men can earn a living and whole families and communities start to thrive.

Where do the donations go?

With the donations of our generous supporters, we’re installing taps, toilets, boreholes and wells. And to make lasting change happen on a massive scale, we’re:

  • Convincing governments to change laws.
  • Linking policy makers with communities and local partners.
  • Changing attitudes and behaviours.
  • Pooling knowledge and resources.
  • Rallying support from people and organisations around the world.

When did WaterAid start and what inspired this business?

WaterAid started out in the UK in 1981, when several water companies came together to create a single international organisation dedicated to the water crisis – because one didn’t exist. WaterAid Australia joined the global WaterAid federation in 2004, with the help of the Australia water sector and development sector. Despite having made impressive progress in that time, today, 703 million people worldwide don’t have clean water close to home, and almost one in five people globally don’t have a decent toilet of their own.

In recent times, the Temeke District has directly experienced the consequences of climate change, with frequent floods wreaking havoc on densely populated areas.⁠⁠ Thanks to the generous support WaterAid receives in donations, they have effectively reduced the risk of disease during floods by assisting waste disposal workers in efficiently managing waste, and even profiting from it!

⁠⁠Local waste disposal workers utilise a hand pump called 'Gulper' to empty latrines, with individuals like Julius Chisengo (pictured) using a motorcycle truck called 'bajaj' to transport the waste through the narrow streets.⁠⁠ The waste is then directed to small treatment facilities where it is transformed into biogas for cooking purposes, water for irrigation and fertiliser to promote the growth of nutritious crops for community members, while also generating an income!

How has working out of The Commons helped your journey?

The Commons provides us with a functional and beautiful space to work and collaborate out of, something that is important for us to achieve the impact we do.

What is next for WaterAid? How can we help with your sustainability efforts?

We make a bigger impact because we know the power of working together. Our collective efforts with local partners and global allies have meant that millions of people have already built better lives and futures. Now, we are bolder and more ambitious than ever before. Over the next decade, we will reach hundreds of millions more people. We won’t stop until we’re no longer needed.

You can support us through a monthly or one-off donation, or by spreading the word about WaterAid and the water crisis.