Substation33 a social enterprise diverting e-waste from landfill

Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 4.26.41 pmA few weeks ago, I discovered that you can recycle soft plastics, turning your plastics into useful things like park benches and play ground equipment.  Today I discovered Substation33 a social enterprise based in Logan, Queensland, who recycle electronic waste, providing a workplace where volunteers and employees gain confidence and skills for the transition to sustainable employment.  AWESOME!

eWaste is the fastest growing waste stream to landfill. Substation33’s goal is to offer a cleaner, more Earth-friendly option for residents of South East Queensland to dispose of old computers, monitors, servers, office equipemnt, household appliances, mobile phones and all obsolete/unwanted electronic equipment.

Your eWaste will be disassembled by their team of volunteers and the materials recovered are directed back into the manufacturing stream.

The crew at Substation33 even boast that if they had a plug or a battery, they could recycle it.

So clear out under the stairs, dont put that old tv, heater, computer into landfill – recycle it via Substation33 – find out more here:

Or get in touch:
31 Mary St Kingston 4114
P: 3826 1533

Substation33 is open Monday to Friday 8.00am til 4.30 pm except public holidays

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Have kindness, will travel – Top Travel Tips

No matter what you are doing, everyday or once in a lifetime, big or small, public or private, there are loads of simple ways to include an itinerary of social kindness into your world.  This is what my blog charityspam is all about.

I heard about a blogging competition, to write a post about my top travel tips.  So here are a couple of ways to include some social kindness on your next trip.

Travelling doesn’t have to be as environmentally expensive as you would think.  For a start, you can choose to fly carbon neutral. Virgin Australia led the global pack in 2007 when they launched their government accredited carbon offset program.  Last year they expanded on this and partnered with the Tasmanian Land Conservancy who act as the custodian of over 30,000 hectares of precious forests – learn more here.

Another simple way, with little effort, is to reserve a a small space in your suitcase which can make a big difference to the people in the places you are travelling to.

PackForAPurposePack For a Purpose is a fantastic international charity who help inspire travellers to make meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. They co-ordinate accommodation providers, local communities and not-for-profits to all work together.  Pack for a Purpose list hundreds of destinations in Africa, South America, Central America, Asia, Europe, Middle East and more.  A small allocation of space can make a lasting difference to those who don’t have much.  For example, within a spare two kilos in your luggage allowance, you can pack 400 pencils, 5 deflated soccer balls, a stethoscope or 500 bandaids.  Drop your goodies off at your accommodation (that supports PfaP) and the rest is taken care of, it is that easy.

This mentality can also be applied locally.  My next trip doesn’t involve jumping on a plane, I will be driving one hour to attend my very first ProBlogger Event on the Gold Coast. So I’m putting the Pack For a Purpose mantra into action to benefit a local Gold Coast group that is helping women who are homeless.

Last week, I blogged about an Australia-wide movement of organisations who collect sanitary items for women experiencing homelessness, and I discovered that there is one based on the Gold Coast. Did you know that tonight, 20,000 people in the “Sunshine State” are homeless?  And let me tell you, the sunshine state is not so sunny right now.

Gold Coast Secret Women’s Business are a group dedicated to collecting and donating feminine hygiene products for homeless women on the Gold Coast.   They are based at 45 Nerang Street in Southport, an old ambulance station next to council chambers.   The items collected are then donated to either Rosies, Still Waters Refuge or Angels Kitchen.

So my newly formed goal, yes, as of right now, is to collect 2,500 sanitary items within the next three weeks to donate to them.

To do this, I am REALLY going to need your help. 

Here are six easy ways to help:

  1. Buy an extra box of tampons or pads next time you are at the supermarket and send to me (or send direct to Gold Coast Secret Women’s Business if that is easier)
  2. Share this post on your facebook – here is the URL
  3. Forward this blog to your friends
  4. Start a collection among your friends
  5. Connect with a local organisation helping women in this way in your area
  6. Like Gold Coast Secret Women’s Business, Rosies Queensland, Pack For A Purpose on facebook

Or if you are a blogger, attending next month’s Pro Blogger conference, why not Pack For a Purpose, bring your goodies to the conference, come and find me and I will deliver for you!

So c’mon Pro Blogger attendees – would you like to wrap some social kindness into your conference?  I hope so!


I have written this blog post as my entry in the Blog. Share. Inspire. Virgin Australia / ProBlogger competition – I hope you like it….and donate some tampons.


Posted in Causes, Community, Environment, KINDNESS | Tagged , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Melbourne Period Project

tamponsIt is that thing we really don’t like talking about. Period. There are lots of silly names for it: Aunt Flo, Cousin Red, ‘have the painters in’, ‘in her flowers’, on the rag, ride the cotton pony, surf the crimson wave, that time of the month and this one ‘woman troubles’ is a particularly accurate description if you are a woman and you are homeless.   What do you do when you have to choose between a meal and tampons?

I discovered an amazing and new project helping Victorian women who are homeless; the Melbourne Period Project and I would love to share it with you.

It was co-founded by two amazing women, Donna and Natalie only last month, June 2015.

Natalie was previously homeless and had first hand experience of being without sanitary products and had to use folded up toilet paper and socks in substitute for pads/tampons. She vowed once she was out of that situation she would make sure that this wouldn’t happen to anyone still living on the streets. (Read about other inconceivable ways women deal with their periods worldwide via this Huffington Post article).

Natalie reached out to Donna, who runs not for profit organisation Blanket Melbourne (who incredibly, have had so much support in the lead up to this winter, that they are temporarily closed – AMAZING!). Donna got on board straight away as this was something she had been wanting to do for a while, and the Melbourne Period Project was born.

The Melbourne Period Project rely solely on community donations and provide sanitary products to women who are homeless. They work with many organisations across Victoria to distribute sanitary products to women in need.

There are over 100 drop off points across Victoria. You can email Melbourne Period Project direct to get the details or their postal address.

To fing out more, visit the Melbourne Period Project website, follow on facebook or twitter., and make sure you share this post with your friends in Victoria.

There are similar projects in other states also:

Every Little Bit Helps – Sydney

Making a Difference Brisbane

Essentials for Women of Perth

Gold Coast Secret Women’s Business

Essentials 4 Women Adelaide

Wings and Strings (Newcastle and Hunter region)

Why not start a collection, and ask around your friendship group for contributions.  Buy an extra box of tampons or pads in your next supermarket shop.  You know this will make a difference in the most sisterly way.

Thanks for reading!


Posted in Australian charity, Causes, Community, GIVING, Pay it forward, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

there is a party in a park, and you are invited – Sunday 26 July 2015 #bne

A crowd of over 6,000 attended last year
If you live in Brisbane, and want to get outdoors for a fantastic community event, then block out the diary for Sunday 26 July because it’s Picnic in the Park time!

Picnic in the Park is unique as far as most community events go.  It is the annual event run by CPL (formerly known as the Cerebral Palsy League) who stand for Choice, Passion and Life and is about showing Queensland that people of all different types of abilities should be included in all facets of public life, and that every community event should be accessible to everyone.  In 2014, over 6,000 attended Picnic in the Park.

Picnic in the Park is on between 10am and 3pm on Sunday 26th July 2015 in Roma Street Parkland’s picturesque Celebration Lawn, with a fun-filled program for people of all ages and, most importantly, people of all abilities.

For over 65 years, CPL have been providing vital support and services to more than 8,000 children and adults with disabilities in Queensland and Northern NSW in homes, schools, communities and workplaces.

Picnic in the Park is a free event with a family-friendly program, including Triple J’s Agnes Walker who will headline an exciting program of live shows on the main stage.

In Focus - Martina Cross and Amy performing their roaming act The Tatter...For the kids, children’s cartoon favourite, Peppa the Pig, will perform two free live shows, with appearances by the Fabulous Lemon Drops, the Queensland Wildlife Park Reptile Show and a performance showcasing kids of all abilities.

There will be a jam-packed kids’ precinct sure to delight youngsters, with adorable barnyard baby animals, jumping castle, sand wizard, face painting, an accessible liberty swing and roving performers.  There will also be an arts and craft market with a range of artwork, jewellery and a gourmet treats.

Festivities are aimed at promoting and celebrating the achievements of Queenslanders with disabilities and raising valuable funds so CPL can continue providing vital support to thousands of Queensland adults and children.

CPL CEO Angela Tillmanns said she hoped the diverse program would bring joy to families, while building understanding in the community that all Queenslanders should have the same opportunity to live a fulfilling life, regardless of their ability.

PIP 4 Glenn Swalling and Lottie Cooke enjoying the sunshineMs Tillmanns said Picnic in the Park was one of the few events in Queensland that was truly accessible and inclusive to all community members no matter their age, gender, race, religious or cultural background or level of physical or intellectual ability.

“I hope this year’s Picnic in the Park will open people’s hearts and minds to others in their local community who have unique abilities and qualities of their own.


For more information visit

Posted in Brisbane Events, Causes, Children, Community, youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orange Sky Laundry – Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless


Other than a brief stint volunteering for the Wilderness Society dressed up in a mangey Koala suit, my social conscience at age 20 was still very much a work in progress.  

But not these guys.  In July 2014, two Brisbane friends and social entrepreneurs Lucas Patchett and Nic Marchesi, age 20, founded Orange Sky Laundry, Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless. They custom fitted a van “Sudsey” with two industrial washers and dryer to service parks, drop in homeless shelters and centres across Brisbane and Ipswich.  Sudsey has recently hit it’s 2000th cycle!

In February 2015, as Tropical Cyclone Marcia crossed the Queensland coast, Lucas and Nic packed up their mobile laundry van and embarked on a 1090km journey into the disaster zone. The next day, Orange Sky was in Yeppoon offering its services to people left without power.

Orange Sky Laundry are also regulars at Grant the Polite Guy and Jerome Dalton’s homeless BBQ’s throughout Brisbane – I will blog the details of the next one.


One load takes about 50 minutes to wash and dry, and they can process 20kg of laundry every hour. Lucas says that washing clothes is only part of the story, and that one of the best parts of the job is the people he meets.  

‘I was chatting with a guy the other day who used to be a chemical engineer. It’s a very grounding experience to see how quickly things can go wrong for people,’ he says.   

“Washing your clothes is a privilege that so many of us take for granted. I met Mick who was born in Brisbane and living on the streets, he couldn’t afford to wash his clothes.  The day I met him was the first time Mick has been able to wash his clothes and blankets.”

Orange Sky Laundry are run by volunteers, and aim to harness the positive energy of 18 – 30 year olds (or anyone really) who are keen to give back, but struggle to find simple ways to help people in need. 

Their big dream is to provide their service across Australia by the end of 2015. They are already in Cairns and on the Gold Coast.

Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 2.05.09 pmSo how can you get involved?  Lucas and Nic really need your support, for just $6 (or more) you can help fund one Orange Sky Laundry wash for someone who is homeless.  Lets go, I will kick start us, $6 is an easy amount to give – DONATE HERE!

You can also sign up to become an Orange Sky Laundry volunteer – sign up here.

Another great way to help is spread the word about them.  Like them on facebook, twitter and share this post!

The boys would also love for you to come over and say hello, so if you see the van driving around, go and say hi!

Lucas and Nic keep up the incredible work!

Posted in Community, GIVING | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Help Paul Borrud Raise $100,000 USD for Nepal Relief Efforts

Everyday, I feel so priviledged to hear stories of extraordinary humans.  Today is no different.  This is what my friend Paul Borrud has been busy with in Nepal.  On the 25th April 2015 a devastating earth quake hit Nepal, the next day Paul jumped on a plane…..this is the story so far:

Help Paul Borrud Raise $100,000 USD for Nepal Relief Efforts here


DronationThis is Maiya. She is 90 years old and lives more than 10,000ft (3000m) high in the Himalaya. This week, she—and you—changed my life.

As you know, on April 25 of this year the earthquake in Nepal devastated Maiya’s village along with large swaths of the country, killing more than 8,800 people and injuring more than 23,000. The destruction is ubiquitous, overwhelming, and—from the ground, air, or afar—it is heartbreaking. Of all the districts in Nepal, Rasuwa was hit hardest. And it is among the last to receive any aid or assistance.

This week, with your help, we brought them shelter, water, and medical training.

In the aftermath of the Nepal earthquakes, relief efforts and fundraising have been swift and admirable. One challenge affecting the relief, however, is the ancient Nepalese caste system, a hierarchy in which those born to higher castes receive greater relief.

Maiya and her village and the three villages we visited this week are actually below the caste system. They are considered untouchable.

This means that even IF they somehow could make the trek from their villages high in the Himalaya down to the centralized relief centers, they would almost certainly be turned away. So with your help, from, we went to them.

Late at night, after nine hours from Kathmandu, our trucks reached the end of the road: still more than 300 meters from the village of Shyo. We arrived, parked, and down a precarious (and seriously terrifying) singletrack we carried the construction supplies. The homes we spent days building were simple, but durable. They are corrugated tin roofs that create a 1/2 dome and are secured with rebar. Basic, but far better than the tattered tarps and piecemeal shelter Maiya and the other families have been surviving in since the earthquake.

Your help has been invaluable. We built 22 shelters in this village and then trained the village on the water systems provided by Waves for Water. Thank you to Jon Rose, Trista and Damien for providing the most valuable substance on earth—clean water. Finally, first aid training. Helping a disaster-affected region is often as much education and preparation for the next disaster as it is relief for the current one.

After Shyo, we made our way to Suazon, where the needs were the same, but the access was slightly easier. Instead of the “EK Project” corrugated shelters, we were able to transport and build more permanent homes. With your help from we built 15 of these, more water and medical training, and then made our way to Bhaktapur, where the initial drone footage which inspired so many people to lend a hand was originally captured. There we delivered 72 bundles (9 sheets at 12 foot lengths per bundle) of corrugated tin to the village, where a lot of bamboo structures were framed and ready for the roofs.

One of the most inspiring parts of this project has been the stark contrast between the heartbreaking devastation everywhere I turned and the outpouring of gratitude, songs, cheer, and love from the Nepali people YOU are helping. Hefting hundreds of pounds of tin and supplies in not just scary but also treacherous conditions is made light work by the inspiring joy of these people. Thank you so much for getting us there to help them.

Of the nearly $65,000 raised so far through, we have used approximately $40,000, leaving us with $25,000 for Phase 3 but still raising funds. We’ll be doing a needs assessment in similar villages in the coming weeks to determine the best way to use our limited resources. For that and many other efforts, a special thanks to my partners on the ground Bronwyn, La Ma, Iswari, Paresh, Prem, Pooja and Som.

Without their help, and yours, none of this would be possible.

One final thing which deeply affected me this week was during each part of this ordeal remembering that this is a group of people considered “Dalit,” or “untouchable.” And at each turn, the opportunity to not just bring them real relief from terrible destruction but to also show them love and hug them and sing with them is truly the most incredible reminder of the great people in this world.

Not only did we bring your love to a people who receive it from almost no one, we found that same love in each village we visited. It was truly inspiring to see how many of you have given resources large and small to, and equally inspiring to see the love and joy and charity of the people you helped. I am utterly, utterly humbled to have gotten to see both.

Thank you, and Namaste,

Help Paul Borrud Raise $100,000 USD for Nepal Relief Efforts here

Posted in Causes, Children, Community, GIVING, KINDNESS | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

1000 Blankets for Brisbane via #CEOsleepoutAU

BlanketsforBrisbaneOn any given night in Australia more than 105,000 people are homeless. According to the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust 4,324 people in Brisbane are homeless, with 1,943 living in Inner City Brisbane.

Cameron Van Balen, Managing Director of Laundry Australia, Home Laundry and Plus Dry Cleaners has set himself a grand challenge.  Not only is he particupating in the 2015 St Vincent de Paul’s CEO Sleepout hoping to raise over $5000, but he wants Brisbane to donate 1000+ Blankets for Brisbane – freshly laundered of course!

Blankets for Brisbane is a great and practical way to support the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society who strive to make life more liveable for those who find themselves homeless.

It is easy, simply donate an old blanket from home to the Blankets for Brisbane appeal, and make this winter a little warmer for Brisbane’s homeless. Here are three ways you can get involved:

  • donate a blanket for Brisbane at any Plus Dry Cleaners store in Brisbane.  There are location in Brisbane City, Carindale, Fortitude Valley, Toobul, Yeronga and more….
  • support Blankets for Brisbane‘s Cam Van Balen in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout, or
  • make a donation online direct to St Vincent de Paul

For more information, visit the Blankets for Brisbane website or follow them on facebook.

Dont have a blanket to donate?  Here are some other ways you can help:
SHARE this post on your network and encourage your friends to get involved
HOST a blanket collection at your school, family BBQ, work place, exercise group or mothers group
BUY a new blanket to donate, you can pick up new blankets at Kmart for as little as $5

Your kindness and warmth will make a difference this winter – lets help Cam raise the 1000+ blankets for Brisbane!


ps charityspam is now on facebook – I hope you like me!


Posted in Australian charity, Brisbane Events, Causes, Community, GIVING, Homelessness, Pay it forward, Second Chance, youth | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments