Reverse Garbage: the very definition of a sustainable business

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An award-winning environmental Australian co-operative, which promotes the reusing of materials, reveals some of the  “hilarious” items that have ended up in their warehouse.

The CEO of Reverse Garbage, Narelle Mantle, explains that the co-op has been running for over 40 years and currently has a turnover of $1.2 million.

She said: “Initially started with funding from the state Government, but we are totally self funded now; We are the very definition of a sustainable business, we’ve been operating for over 40 years and I’ve been here for 13 and we’ve never relied on any funding at all.”

“We dance to the beat of our own drum, we don’t have to worry about answering to the to government or to a funding body.”

Reverse Garbage reuses, instead of recycling, as Narelle explains: “You can buy anything you want, everything already exists in this world.”

She goes on to describe some of the “hilarious” items left over from Mardi Gras that may need to be kept away from the eyes of children.

The co-operative has won a huge number of awards for environmental and their ethics. Narelle adds: “The customers feel like they are part of the family, because we’re really community driven. There’s no point in saving the planet, if we treat each other really badly.”

She says the reasons for the success are: “People feel good shopping here, they feel we’re not just out there to make a buck.”

Finally she adds: “It’s essential to show capitalists and the corporate world that you can make a healthy living… and you don’t have to be ruthless about it.”

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About Emily Barker

Journalist for Co-operative News.