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From the roof above its head right down to the toilet paper in the loo, Sydney’s Railway Square YHA is seriously committed to sustainability.
Located on ‘Platform Zero’ of Sydney’s Central Station, Railway Square YHA has booked a one-way ticket on the express train to Green Town. Sorry, ignore that terrible railway reference, because sustainability is a very serious part of this hostel’s business plan – and you find evidence of that all throughout the property, which itself is an upcycled parcels shed dating back to 1904.
There’s big stuff like solar-boosted gas hot water heating the showers and rainwater flushing the toilets. There’s small stuff like the ‘Who Gives a Crap’ recycled toilet paper and re-using old jars as cups in the kitchen. There’s helpful stuff like free local fruit in the kitchen and bike lockers and repair equipment to cut down emissions. And there’s quirky stuff like the latest sustainable additions to Railway Square’s urban-chic decor.
First there’s the new dining tabletops made from recycled timber posts, the handiwork of furniture artisans Wildwood just down the road in Stanmore, which were then fitted to the tables’ existing metal legs to make sure the whole shebang is recycled.
And second there’s the ‘Green Wall’ installed by Marrickville garden designers Pigweed, who even took the extra step of sourcing old railway luggage racks for the plants in the vertical garden to echo the history of the hostel.
Besides adding a splash of green to the hostel’s outdoor area, the garden is designed to remind guests of the importance of the natural world around them. Plus, repurposing old materials helps create an economy for recycled goods, shifting away from single-use items that quickly end up in landfill.
Hostel Manager Dean Grasselli and Deputy Sylvia Della Vedova (pictured above, right and middle) make sustainability principles a key factor in their decision making.
“Our social-environmental commitments reflect what we believe in as individuals and as a team,” Dean says. “We have a unique opportunity to influence and affect change. Caring for our future, for our resources and for our environment is the right thing to do.”