Re-thinking waste: ZNET Uralla launches WoW project

Waste is a fast-growing problem, with Australians generating around 76 million tonnes of waste each year*. So, what can we do about it?

Community group ZNET Uralla is taking a locally-led approach with its Working on Waste (WoW) project, which kicks off this week after securing almost $20,000 in funding through the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal’s program Strengthening Rural Communities.

ZNET will collaborate with fellow community groups including Uralla Co-op, Uralla Neighbourhood Centre, CWA and The Men’s Shed to host a series of free workshops that will help to equip the average person to be part of the solution to the waste crisis.

Working on Waste aims to reinvigorate the arts of mending and repair, as well as upcycling, repurposing and recycling.

Kevin Douds volunteers at Uralla Co-op to help give building materials a second life.

“WoW will empower people to ‘do it themselves’ to make a real difference to waste in our Shire. We can’t keep filling up our landfill at the current rate,” said Carol Shantal, who is leading the project.

“Rural communities have always been great at making or mending, and this program will help to invigorate, build and pass on this knowledge,” she said. “All the while helping to reduce the rising cost of living.”

Starting with a series of sewing and mending workshops, ZNET wants to tackle the problems of fast fashion that generates more than 92 million tonnes of clothing waste annually** across the globe.

“Sewing on buttons, altering a hem, are small actions that can put a favourite item of clothing back into circulation. We’ll be sourcing clothing and fabric from the Uralla Co-op for further workshops, too, to upcycle and give these materials a new lease of life,” said Carol.

Uralla Co-op volunteers Phyllis Khan and Carol McManus sort donated textiles for reuse.

Word working, mending tools and bike repair are other
workshops in planning.

The big issue of food waste will also be addressed through
learning about composting, growing gardens, preserving excess food and
understanding the value of eating food that is locally produced.

A screening of the short film Regenerating Australia will also be held at McCrossin’s Mill on
Tuesday 14 June at 6pm followed by a discussion and refreshments.  

“Thanks to the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
and its program sponsor Peppers Australia, these events will be free for
community members,” said Ms Shantal.

Visit or
for details, or check in the windows of your local shop.

To book into ‘Sewing for Beginners’ –Saturday 11 June or ‘Mending made Easy’- Saturday 25 June please email coordinator(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)
or call 0423 514 653.

 ZNET is also running
its popular ‘Curtain-Making’ course on Saturday
4 June
to help Uralla Shire locals keep their homes warmer in winter while,
at the same time, saving money and reducing energy consumption. Bookings are
now open for this free workshop as well.




  1. Antonius Vanden hoogen

    Just a note from Antonius the local tree hugger.
    The general public is always welcome to visit our small patch of heaven at Rocky River.
    As retired engineer I am happy to mend small items where possible in my workshop for small fee to mostly cover costs.
    Hope to see you at the Tree Planting Day Sunday 12th June 1o am 24 McDonalds Lane.
    Free barbecue 12.00 pm

    1. Heidi McElnea

      Thank you Antonius – your passion for sustainable living, and your interest in involving the community is wonderful. We’ll share the info about the tree planting with other members, and it would be good to chat with you about the ‘fix and repair’ workshops, too. Thank you for your comment.

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