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  • Annabel Sides

City of Greater Bendigo + Netball Exchange + Waste Reductions

On February 11, 2023, Netball Victoria will bring the next iteration of the Netball Exchange to their community. The activation will be held during the Melbourne Vixens Community Roadshow in Bendigo. The local community will be able to donate netballs for reuse (via charity partners) and recycling (thanks to Game On Recycling). For every three used netballs, participants will receive one brand new Gilbert netball thanks to RACV. When: 10.30am-12.30pm, Saturday 11 February, 2023 Where: Golden City Netball Association (outdoor courts at Red Energy Arena, West Bendigo) This regional activation follows on from a very successful pilot event during State Titles at the State Netball and Hockey Centre in Parkville in October 2022.


“As an organisation we are constantly striving to create a more environmentally friendly world and with the support of RACV and Game on Recycling we were able to bring this great program to life. In a phenomenal effort, we saw over 2400 netballs donated over the course of two days, which equates to a staggering 34,285 black balloons. When we break that down even further it equates to 1,714,285 carbon emissions, highlighting the huge impact incorrectly recycled netballs can have on the environment.”


“All the donated netballs will now be sorted and sent out to communities in need to ensure that everyone has access to our great sport. Netballs that are deemed not fit for use are then properly recycled to prevent the creation of any additional landfill. The netballs are broken down into a raw material that can be used for a variety of purposes including new sporting surfaces, anti-fatigue mats, soft fall kindergarten matting, gyms and change rooms, and planter boxes.”[1]


Champions are needed to create these partnerships, activations and momentum.

Netball Victoria has an Environment Group made up of staff from each department with a passion for the environment and sustainability. The group is responsible for encouraging affiliates to become more sustainable and for developing the Netball Victoria Sustainability Policy. Some of the tips for the netball community from this group include:

- Making sure recycling bins are in place at courts

- Considering reducing waste created by trophies and medallions by switching to more sustainable rewards (I love this as a concept and all sports could get really creative with ideas for this one!)

- Reduce single use plastics at canteens


City of Greater Bendigo is also a fabulous location for Netball Victoria to run the Netball Exchange.


The City’s landfill will close this year, building a circular economy for the region is well underway via the Circular Greater Bendigo initiative. A host city for the Victoria2026 Commonwealth Games, there is a lot of innovative (and hard) work to be done to design out waste so that the development, hosting and legacy of the Games is positive for people, planet and place.

Already a Game on Recycling partner, The City has seen the benefit of this relationship as a testing ground to answer the question of what to do with sporting waste, in what is becoming a region as well-known as a sporting mecca as for being a gold rush town.


Residents, schools and clubs can, up until mid-March, 2023, clean out their storerooms, kid’s rooms and garages and recycle their sports equipment that is no longer wanted at the Strathfieldsaye Transfer Station free of charge.

“The City is accepting all forms of sporting equipment, excluding clothing, shoes and boots.

“Strathfieldsaye Transfer Station staff will sort the equipment. If it still has life left in it, it will be distributed back into community through the Transfer Station and community partnerships while eligible gear at the end of its life will be transferred to the Game on Recycling processing plant to be broken down, separated into like materials and tested for manufacturing uses.”


“This initiative is a game changer and who knows one day that ball or racket you dropped at the transfer station might be the soft fall matting at your gym or a seat where you watch the Commonwealth Games from in 2026.”[2]


Although the transfer station is not accepting sports shoes, there are 5 locations in The City accepting worn out sports shoes, as part of the Australian Sporting Goods Association (ASGA) Tread Lightly sports shoe recycling program. Visit their website to find these locations and more about the program.


If you or someone you know lives, works or plays in this region get them to take part in the Netball-Exchange this weekend, take advantage the Game On Recycling collection point for old or unwanted sporting equipment at the Strathfieldsaye Transfer Station or drop of old shoes to a Tread Lightly location nearby.


[1] https://vic.netball.com.au/news/netball-exchange-success [2] https://www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/About/Media-Releases/city-joins-game-recycling-pilot-recover-unwanted-sporting-equipment

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