Mullum Cares is an Incorporated, Not for Profit organisation that Promotes and Supports the Growing Consumer Demand for Conservation
Mullum Cares harnesses the will of its community to design and deliver campaigns and services that result in less buying and more fun. We support other community groups, not for profit organisations, the Byron Shire Council, local businesses and the wider community to drive our agenda to reduce lineal consumption and build a more caring and sharing community:)
Think Global, Act Local.
Founder, Sasha Mainsbridge, is passionate about reducing human impact on the earth and was awarded the 2017 Local Woman of the Year Award for the Ballina Electorate for Mullum Cares design and implementation of a town wide, Plastic Free July campaign in 2016 which resulted in the IGA removing their plastic carry bags for good (150 000+ per annum) and the successful crowd funding of a filtered water bottle refill station for the town.
The Major sponsors of that project were the Mullumbimby Chamber of Commerce, Tamara Smith Member for Ballina, Responsible Cafes, Amber Martin Design and the Byron Shire Council. A full list of sponsors can be found on the Plastic Free July project page.
Sasha is pictured below with Dave West from the Boomerang Alliance and Daniel Tiffin, the manager of the Mullumbimby IGA.
The Library of STUFF & Sustainable Events
In April 2017 Mullum Cares supported the Byron Spirit Festival to reduce its use of single use cups, plates, bowls and cutlery with $1000 of reusable bamboo products donated by the festival that was made available for patrons to #choosetoreuse. These 100 sets of cups, bowls, small plates & cutlery seeded the Library of Stuff, a share economy initiative inspired by the Story of Stuff.
For two years the stock of reusable assets that assist local events grew and were lent from Sasha’s garage to community groups to help them avoid waste at their events. Mullum Cares often attended the events and ran the wash station operation, gradually perfecting the zero waste system.
Mullum Cares Sustainable Events efforts extended beyond the town of Mullumbimby to the North Byron Parklands where Splendour in the Grass and the Falls Festival take place. Since Dec 2017 and often in partnership with other groups including Green Music Australia and B-Alternative, a range of different campaigns have been designed and implemented to support these large events to grapple with the significant waste they create. The photo at the top of this page is of the team wearing their upcycled tent fabric dresses at Falls Festival. In 2018 Splendour in the Grass generously allowed Mullum Cares to collect and transport over 134 000 drink containers to the Lismore bulk container deposit depot to redeem 10c for each container. This resulted in over $10 000 being raised for the Library of Stuff and Mullum Cares being awarded a NSW Return & Earn Community Initiative Award.
The Library continued..
Two years after the Library’s inception, in April 2019, a space was offered by the Byron Community College and a formal lending software was utilised to launch household memberships in addition to the not for profit membership category. Two years on in April 2021 the lending activity looked like this:
The Library of Stuff inventory includes tools, camping gear, sporting equipment, waste-free event products, a range of kitchen appliances and an extensive range of board games. The Library is loved by its 140 household members and 10 not for profit organisational members and is used by Mullum Cares Sustainable Events team to support local events efforts to reduce their waste. The next stage in the Library’s development is the accrual of assets intent on supporting local upcyclers to grow a local circular economy.
Mullum Cares vision for a Salvage Culture Precinct
The Salvage Culture Project was born out of Mullum Cares 2020 Plastic Free July action, REthink Fabric Waste. The detrimental impacts of fast fashion have become increasingly reported in terms of volume of textile waste going to landfill, the human rights abuses, environmental pollution and destruction of local textile industries in developing nations by tonnes of unwanted clothing from the west flooding their markets. We saw an opportunity to extend our focus on problem plastics to include the fact that 60% of modern textiles is plastic and the additional problems this creates due to the increased complexities of this waste streams recycling potential and the impact of micro plastics escaping into our water system via washing machines.
The first event, Think Fabric Waste, was cancelled due to COVID concerns as it included a Clothing Swap.
When the Mullum Cares volunteer pool was considered that could help bring the action to life it became apparent that once again, the most talented amongst them were to be asked to provide their creative skills voluntarily, rather than honour their skills with an opportunity to be ethically remunerated. The need to support and promote our local creative community to accelerate their potential to upcycle waste fabrics was recognised and the Salvage Culture Project was born.
The Salvage Culture launch event, REthink Fabric Waste involved 8 highly skilled local upcylers (and some of their kids!) displaying and demonstrating textile upcycling ideas. Since then the Library has invested in purchasing heavy duty sewing machines and overlockers and $500 worth of Slow Fashion books as seeding Circular Economy assets intended to accelerate the work of these amazing locals.
The vision for a Precinct includes the introduction of a Reverse Garbage Northern Rivers operation so high value local industrial and commercial waste can be harnessed to inspire local designers and makers to find opportunities for circular products. As ideas emerge the Library will invest in industrial machinery to enable piloting of circular product manufacture. A suitable commercial location has been identified and plans are underway to create a place where the Library will live alongside the Reverse Garbage operation and a space for makers to learn and practice.