A woman with two children struggles with a stroller up Oxford Street to her first Taylor Square swap party. She’s tired after spending hours cleaning out old drawers the previous night while the kids were sleeping, but now she can trade her unwanted stuff for things she needs.
It’s worth the effort as she leaves several kilos lighter with a huge smile, a pile of valuable swap tokens – and the lucky door prize.
That’s a favourite memory of the Taylor Square swap parties for the organiser, Christine Byrne. The parties started as a one-off event but have proven so popular they’re now held about four times a year.
An Oxford Street local for more than a decade, Christine was one of the group which helped get the recycling event off the ground, inspired by a City of Sydney swap party in Martin Place and funded by a small matching grant from Council.
“A lot of people around here don’t have garages, so it’s hard to have garage sales and cleanups. When we saw the Martin Place swap party we thought it would be great to have one here in Oxford Street with the Sydney Sustainable Markets already in Taylor Square,” Christine said
“Some people come along to get new stuff, some want to exchange stuff, others know it’s really important not to put these things into landfill. Some like the social aspect of it – it’s become a really positive and fun community meeting place.
“It’s great to see them all engaged – many come along just to say hello, and we’ve got new people signing up all the time. It’s way more positive and fun than just sitting in a pub.”
Christine is part of a group that meets monthly to explore positive, sustainable initiatives within the community. The group includes other inspiring people – such as with Doug with his Urban Beehive, Cathy from Sydney Sustainable Markets and Kristy with her Cooking Camps for kids.