Recycling options for disposing furniture, playground equipment and other school equipment
Donation is often the most practical and cost-effective way of disposing of unwanted assets and reducing landfill. Donation can benefit neighbouring schools and the community, locally and overseas.
We encourage schools to find out whether other schools in their regional networks need unwanted furniture. This is particularly relevant for schools receiving a capital upgrade that includes the renewal of furniture and equipment.
Schools should advise other schools in their network that they can acquire their old assets. Schools should also advise the Victorian School Building Authority (VSBA) that a furniture and equipment changeover will form part of their project.
Local charitable options
Schools can contact their nearest charity op shop to donate locally.
Charitable Recycling Australia is an umbrella network for many well-known charities encouraging zero waste and recycling.
Change lives overseas
Recycling unwanted furniture, playground equipment and other school equipment can be a fantastic opportunity to engage your school community in a project that benefits both a developing country and our Australian environment.
Developing nations only an hour’s flight from Australia are in desperate need of school furniture and equipment for students as well as teachers and other resources. Timor Leste, for example, is short of desks and chairs for 50,000 children, and Papua New Guinea needs many as well.
Instead of sending unwanted furniture and equipment to landfill, it can be sent to one of these countries where it will make a critical difference to children’s learning outcomes.
Schools can play a vital role in helping our less fortunate neighbours by contributing their unwanted furniture and equipment and contributing to the shipping costs.
Donating via Rotary and Pacific Assist
Rotary International and Pacific Assist are volunteer organisations that can help recycle old furniture, playground equipment and other school equipment overseas.
Rotary and Pacific Assist will assess your items, so they are acceptable for collection, help establish logistical arrangements and a timeframe for their removal.
These organisations volunteer their time and labour to collect and transfer retired equipment to collection points. Schools are encouraged to contribute to the costs of equipment collection and transfer as a form of donation, through school funds or by fundraisers within the school community.
This is an exciting opportunity for Australian students to understand both the role they can play in helping others and the necessity of taking responsibility for items that they can no longer use. Shipments can be tracked so that the students can see the children that they have directly helped by their efforts.
Schools should contact Rotary or Pacific Assist (contact details are below) as soon as they decide to dispose unwanted furniture and equipment. This will facilitate an assessment of acceptable items for collection, help establish logistical arrangements and a timeframe for removal.
In addition to supporting needy students and teachers in Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific islands, government schools here will have an opportunity to establish strong sibling-school relationships.
Rotary’s Victorian Primary School Recycling Project sends retired school furniture and equipment, primarily desks and chairs, to needy schools in Timor Leste and other developing countries. The project is managed by Rotary’s West Footscray Donations in Kind store.
In addition to classroom furniture and equipment – including staff furniture, bookcases, metal cupboards and filing cabinets – it also collects retired library books and stationery.
Please note: Rotary Donations in Kind is temporarily unable to accept new donations – this page will be updated when Rotary is able to accept donations.
This project has collected over 50 playgrounds from across Victoria and sent them to Timor Leste, the Philippines, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.
Pacific Assist’s Furniture for Schools sends unwanted items to schools in Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Papua New Guinea.
Pacific Assist also collects donated library books, computers and laptops with intact operating systems and applications.
Reviewed 19 December 2022