Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the story behind the organisation?
Bread Tags for Wheelchairs has been running in South Africa since 2006. After Mary Honeybun, who started the organisation, retired from a long and successful nursing career she found that she could not ‘retire’ from her passion to help people.
During her nursing career she realised how important it is, both physically and emotionally, for a person disabled by an accident or a medical condition, to have the mobility that a wheelchair gives them. She also learnt how much the burden on the family and carers of a disabled person is eased if the disabled person has this mobility. Furthermore she was aware that the majority of people in need of wheelchairs in South Africa were often unable to afford to buy their own. So she decided that she would put her efforts into providing them.
She also felt strongly that she wanted to work for a charity where all of the funds raised went into providing for the needy rather than into the administrative costs of the charity. In addition, she wanted to reach out to people of all races and creeds.
Her fourth priority was that it should be something that was environmentally friendly.
And so, after many hours of research, Mary came up with the idea of recycling bread tags, which usually go into landfill, and using the funds to provide wheelchairs. The rest, as they say, is history!
In South Africa a plastics company, Zibo, buys the bread tags for a small amount per kilo. The tags (high impact polystyrene, type 6 plastic) are recycled, being made into seedling trays. The proceeds are used to provide wheelchairs for the needy. At present about 500kg are collected per month in South Africa, funding 2 wheelchairs.
People who were aware of this program had been collecting tags for this cause in Australia for many years and either taking the tags to South Africa when they visited, or posting them. In September 2018, we set up an Aussie arm of Bread Tags for Wheelchairs in order to promote the program, increase collection, look into local recycling and streamline the transport of the tags.
In February 2019, we delivered our first batch of tags to our Australian recycler, Transmutation – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, who are based in Robe in South Australia. They now take monthly consignments of tags from us, and all bread tags collected in Australia are recycled locally. The funds raised are regularly remitted to South Africa to buy wheelchairs.
Who gets the wheelchairs?
South Africans who cannot afford a wheelchair can apply to the organisation and get in the queue for a basic wheelchair. There is nowhere near the level of funding for disability services in South Africa as there is in Australia, so someone who cannot afford to buy their own wheelchair may not be able to get one at all.
How can I become part of the bread tag community?
Host a collection point – see Aussie Bread Tags Host a Collection Point.
Like and Follow us on Facebook : @aussiebreadtags to hear our current news.
Join the Aussie Bread Tags Collection Info Facebook group where you can post your successes or questions and read what others in the community are up to.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to go on our mailing list for a couple of updates a year.
I want to collect. What do I need to do?
Anyone can collect at home, work, school etc. All you need to do is get a jar and throw your tags in, or print off some of our labels and signs to collect at work or school. Also, think of asking places where lots of bread and rolls are used such as your local café, child care centre, nursing home, hospital or school canteen. When it suits you, drop your accumulated bread tags off at one of our collection points, which you can find on our map / list, or post them to us at P.O. Box 1164, Kensington Gardens, SA 5068. For more information and signage, see Aussie Bread Tags How to Collect.
Can my school collect?
Absolutely, a school is a great place to collect because so many families will be involved. You will be saving bread tags from going into landfill and helping people who cannot afford a wheelchair to get one. A good idea can be to have a competition between the classes in your school to see which class can collect the most tags in e.g. six months or a year. Have a look at the FAQ “I want to collect. What do I need to do?” to see how to go about it. Teachers : bread tag collection can be great for teaching counting, weighing, sorting etc.
How do I get my tags to you?
Have a look at our collection points map / list to see your closest collection point. You may need to contact the host for the exact address or for opening hours. If there is no collection point that is convenient to you, contact us on email@example.com and we’ll try to work something out. You can also post your tags to us at P.O. Box 1164, Kensington Gardens, SA 5068.
What’s the cheapest way to post my bread tags?
There are three options : small letter ($1.10), large letter ($2.20) or parcel (minimum cost $8.95 for up to 5kg) – these are 2020 prices. If you are sending under 100 bread tags, a small letter should be sufficient.
A small letter is a standard business envelope (like bills come in), max size 130x240mm. The max thickness for a small letter is 5mm, and the max weight 250g.
A large letter can be A5 or A4 size, max size 260x360mm. The max thickness for a large letter is 20mm (2cm), and the max weight 500g.
100g of bread tags is about 270 tags, so weight is not usually the issue when sending small quantities, it’s the thickness you need to watch. So the best way is to fold a piece of paper round your tags so they fit quite tightly and stay flat. Then put the folded paper into the envelope.
If you are sending a parcel, you can use an Australia Post plastic satchel or a cardboard box. We prefer not to get the packaging which has bubble wrap inside paper as this cannot be recycled because it is plastic and paper glued together.
I want to host a public collection point. What do I need to do?
A public collection point is a place where the public can drop off their tags. Anyone can host a collection point. It can be at a business, school, TAFE, child care centre, community centre, church, private home – anywhere. You just need to get a biggish container, print some signage and let us know your location and contact name, email address and number. We then add you to our collection points map and list so people can find you. For privacy reasons, if a collection point is at a private home, we just show the town/suburb, not the full address – people can contact you for the address. From time to time you will need to get your accumulated tags to a central point in your capital city. We are finding the public collection point hosts are working together on this, so you can probably work with others in your area to get your tags where they need to go. For more information, see Aussie Bread Tags Host a Collection Point.
What’s the difference between collecting myself and hosting a public collection point?
You can be a collector by collecting tags from your own networks, e.g. home, friends, work, school, and then dropping them off at one of our public collection points, or posting them to us. You can find all the collection points on our map / list. You don’t need to register with us to collect. For more info, see the FAQ “I want to collect. What do I need to do?”
Public collection points appear on our map and list, and are places where the public can drop off their tags. Collection point hosts provide us with location and contact details for the map pin and need to be able to get their accumulated tags to a central location in their state. For more info, see the FAQ “I want to host a public collection point. What do I need to do?”
Is there any cost associated with collecting?
We do not ask for any money. You will need to get your collected tags to a collection point, but as these are springing up everywhere, hopefully there is one not too far from you, so you can drop them off without any expense. Similarly we ask collection point hosts to take responsibility for getting their accumulated tags to the central collection points in their state’s capital city. Some collectors in regional areas choose to post tags to us, which is at their own expense.
Do you need the bread tags sorted into colours?
If you have a large collection (say 5kg+), although not required, it does help us if you sort them into colours before dropping them off. But please do consider the environment and reuse bags for each different colour – bread bags are perfect. Paper bags or envelopes can be reused for small quantities.
Can I include broken / dirty / large tags?
The tags are going to be recycled, so bits of tag are fine. They don’t have to be spotless, but if you spilled your breakfast honey on them, please give them a rinse before you send them to us! We also take the large tags that come e.g. on bags of potatoes.
Can I include bread ties?
No, these are metal surrounded by plastic, so not suitable.
Do you collect bottle tops?
No, we are only able to recycle bread tags. However, some of our collection point hosts collect both bread tags for us and bottle tops for other organisations, so you could ask them directly.
There are too many map pins at my location, so I can’t see my closest collection point.
Where collection points are close together, you need to zoom in on the map to see individual collection points. Tap / click repeatedly on the plus sign on the map to enlarge it, or pinch your fingers on the screen and then open them to zoom in on a touch screen. Move the map by holding down your finger / the left mouse button and re-centring it to your location. Click / tap on the blue map pin closest to you to see the address and contact details for the collection point.
I can’t open the collection point map.
People do report to us from time to time that they have problems accessing the map from Apple devices. We have discussed this issue with staff in our local Apple shop. They had no trouble accessing the map from their phones and tablets, but they did recommend checking you have the latest version of the Google Maps app installed and also that Location is switched on in Settings. If you don’t want to bother with all this, you could download the list as an alternative.
Are the bread tags recycled into wheelchairs?
Bread tags are not turned into wheelchairs. The recyclers make a donation to us for the tags and these donations fund the wheelchairs. Our Australian recycler, Transmutation in Robe, SA, has so far made bowls, door knobs and coasters from bread tags and is continuing to experiment with new products – check their website or Facebook page for updates. In South Africa the tags are recycled into seedling trays.
How many bread tags does it take to fund a wheelchair?
About 250kg of bread tags need to be recycled to raise enough funds to buy an entry level wheelchair, although some do cost more, depending on the client’s needs. But don’t be discouraged – this is a community effort and all the small contributions soon add up.
Are the tags recycled in Australia or in South Africa?
All bread tags collected in Australia are currently being recycled locally, unless collectors make independent arrangements to take tags to South Africa.
Since February 2019, we have been working with a small company in Robe in South Australia, Transmutation – Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, who have an eco shop and make products out of recycled plastic. They have so far made bowls, door knobs and coasters from bread tags and are continuing to experiment with new products. Brad Scott, who runs the company, is part of the Precious Plastics community, and has built his machines for small scale plastic recycling based on these designs. As of January 2020, Transmutation are taking at least 100kg of bread tags from us each month. The funds raised are regularly remitted to South Africa to buy wheelchairs.
Where can I buy the products made by your recycler?
Bowls, coasters and door knobs can be purchased from Transmutation online or from their shop in Robe. White bowls are available at some Country Road outlets.
How are the tags transported to your recycler?
Transport remains one of our biggest challenges, given the size of Australia.
The transport company HF Dicker and Son generously donate the transport of our monthly consignment of bread tags from Adelaide to Robe. So far we have managed to get our Victorian and Tasmanian tags to Adelaide with people within the Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs network and their friends and family. It’s a great community network with so many willing to help. We have also had some ad hoc donations of transport from other centres, but we are always in need of more transport, so please contact us if you have any contacts in the transport industry or are making a trip to South Australia and can fit a couple of boxes in.
Why bread tags?
These pesky little pieces of plastic usually go into landfill and because of their small size are particularly dangerous to wildlife. They are made of high impact polystyrene (type 6 plastic) which is denser than many other types of plastic, making them compact. Because of their small size, our recycler in Robe can skip the shredding stage of his process, going straight to melting and extruding the plastic. Also, unlike most other plastic waste, bread tags are usually clean.
Funds & Admin
How do I make a donation?
While most of our funds come from the recycling of bread tags, donations allow us to provide more wheelchairs.
To donate to Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs, please use EFT:
Account Name : Aussie Bread Tags for Wheelchairs
BSB : 325185
Account : 03776138
Reference : individual or organisation name
Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org after you have donated if you would like a receipt. We can issue a receipt for donations of $2 or more for tax purposes.
How are funds used?
All funds raised through the recycling of bread tags are used to pay for wheelchairs for the disadvantaged in South Africa.
We have very few costs : no wages, no rent – we are all volunteers and have no premises. Our only significant costs are renting a PO Box so people can post us bread tags, and the hosting of our website (the development and maintenance of our website is performed by a volunteer). At present we are funding the PO Box and website hosting via a grant. We may use donations to cover this type of expense in the future, but the bulk of donations will still go towards providing wheelchairs
Are you a registered charity?
Yes, we are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission. You can confirm this via the ACNC website. Our ABN is 74 855 771 044.