Reviving Community: Cirka and Superyard’s Sustainable Partnership at the Melbourne Cup

Over 20,300 kilograms of materials were repurposed into community projects to promote strong environmental and social initiatives.

Superyard acts as an online marketplace dedicated to bridging the gap between construction companies and suppliers with excess or unused building materials. With over 10,000 members, they reach all sides of the construction industry, tapping into sectors such as home renovators and demolition companies.

They aim to source, hold, and redistribute these reusable materials to promote a circular economy. Superyard works with community service providers, including charities and schools to find new uses for these materials.

Cirka, Superyard staff

The 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival provided Cirka and Superyard the opportunity to partner to reduce waste and meaningfully contribute to the community.

Through careful stakeholder engagement with Victoria Racing Club, Cirka and Superyard were able to find downstream users for a range of materials used in constructing the temporary structures throughout the Melbourne Cup Carnival 2023.

To ensure that all materials were recycled and redistributed effectively, we adopted a three-step process.

Step 1: Proactive planning and industry collaboration

Superyard’s CEO Ritchie Djamhur and Cirka’s ESG Manager Daniel Rowe led the Melbourne Cup Carnival initiative.

The goal of the 2023 initiative was to intercept and repurpose the construction materials from the event’s temporary structures.

Djamhur emphasises the importance of the community-driven mission, stating that the two organisations are “prioritising community, health, and education bodies in Melbourne and the greater Victorian region”.

Cirka’s Rowe underlined the importance of the partnership, explaining that “[Cirka’s] relationship with Superyard allows [Cirka] to repurpose construction materials back into the community, such as schools, community centres, and men’s sheds”.

Through this planning process, they determined to repurpose the following materials:

  • Pinewood of various lengths
  • MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard) sheets
  • Carpeting in brown and black
  • Decking and facia materials
  • LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber)

Step 2: Material Sourcing and Builder Engagement

The next step in the process was to safely and effectively pull down and source the materials to be redistributed.

The builders at the Melbourne Cup Carnival played a critical role in this redistribution process. We engaged with them to ensure that all materials were sourced correctly and that anything that could be reused would be reused.

The builders diligently separated reusable materials from the temporary infrastructure. Afterwards, the preferred materials are packed into stillages and loaded onto a flatbed truck.

The materials were then transported to Superyard’s temporary storage site, where they underwent a quality assurance process to determine which materials were usable.

Step 3: Direct community engagement and support 

In this important step, Superyard engaged with the community to ensure that the recovered materials found new homes.

Djamhur met personally with representatives from each charity. These meetings ensured Superyard could connect projects with the right materials.

A few success stories from this outreach include:

Merri Outreach Support Service

Merri Outreach Support Service is a non-profit organisation delivering support and programs to help vulnerable Victorians experiencing homelessness or housing vulnerability feel secure and empowered.

Superyard distributed pine wood and LVL to the NGO to construct a lunchroom for the hardworking staff and volunteers who help the community, enhancing its homeless outreach program.

Imagine Re-Evolution

Imagine Re-Evolution is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to eliminate systemic childhood poverty and empower youth to reach their fullest potential. The organisation helps fulfil this goal by engaging with community members to reduce childhood poverty through active engagement.

Superyard distributed carpet, pine and MDF sheets to Imagine Re-Evolution to create youth engagement and education learning spaces for disengaged youth to utilise in community engagement programs.

Harvester Technical College

Harvester Technical College in Sunshine North offers specialised trade and vocational education to its secondary students. The college is committed to providing hands-on and trades-based learning experiences.

Through Superyard’s contribution, Harvester Technical College constructed training window frames for carpentry students. These frames serve as practical learning tools, allowing students to practice window installations throughout the year.

This partnership exemplified the effectiveness of circular economy principles in the context of a major event. Through meticulous planning, collaborative efforts with builders, and direct charity engagement, over 20,300 kilograms of materials were repurposed, bolstering community projects, and preventing waste. The project also served the community organisations’ immediate needs and inspired over 80 charities to sign up for future opportunities, cementing a legacy of sustainable practices and community development.

Cirka and Superyard will take the learnings from the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival and continue to improve the process to increase capacity and deliver a shared outcome to the community.