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Trash to Treasure

How is your Earth Day going? You don’t need to dress up like a frog to do something for the planet, although you might get some publicity that way, but today is a day to think about the things we do, and what our alternatives are.

Have you ever thought about all the things we throw or flush away? What could they be used for, could they have a second life, or be turned into resources for another commodity?

For much of what we throw away, this is true. But also we tend to keep a lot of stuff that we don’t use anymore, It’s Earth Day today and for all it’s worth, we’re trying to do our bit. The moving boxes that we have no more use for, to the recycling centre. The organic waste from kitchen scraps go into our compost heap. Most of our furniture is second hand, borrowed or inherited. New materials were not consumed to make our dining table.

This makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Tomorrow is Trash to Treasure day in Castlegar and surrounding communities. It’s kind of an organized pick up for spring cleaning items that someone in the neighborhood may have a use for. This is the ultimate form of recycling, there is not further processing, the new owner picks it up from the previous owner’s curbside and everyone’s happy.

What are you putting out for Trash to Treasure?

My wishlist of things I might find is as follows:

  • Tables-  preferably timber and rectangular.
  • Countertops – I want to make an office workspace with a countertop type table. L-shaped would be great.
  • Desk lamps – I prefer the light from a small desk lamp when working on the computer.
  • Kids bikes – Preferably pink, (two girls)
  • Shade Cloth – this will keep our house cool in summer, (we’re not getting an air conditioner).
  • Line Trimmer – This may be a stretch, but if anyone has one….

Robyn most definitely has more items to add, but this is the list of things I’ll be looking for.

Another avenue to investigate for finding or giving away used items, is on FreeCycle:

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This is one of many community driven peer to peer networks of free or very affordable swapping. The rules vary, but members can post their items for free or put in requests, here’s a recent article about what you can achieve through sites like this. Obviously it’s a catch-22 when there are more members, there may be more stuff advertised, but you have to be quick!

For my readers in the Castlegar Area, click on the following button to get on the FreeCycle Castlegar List, and enjoy regular updates of items being given away, and items wanted that you may have lying around! There is usually a couple of posts a week from people wanting stuff, or with items to give away. Check out Castlegar Freecycle.

Click here to join castlegarfreecycle - Free Cycle Castlegar
Click to join castlegarfreecycle

Freecycle™: Changing the World One Gift at a Time

Think globally, recycle locally. The Freecycle Network is open to all communities and to all individuals who want to participate. Freecycle groups are moderated by local volunteers from across the globe who facilitate each local group – grassroots at its best!

These kind of sites are often in the news, mainly because they go against everything commercial and materialistic within our Western world, here’s a recent example, the whole article is a good read…

Wisconsin State Journal
Betsy and Gayel Larsen, of Oregon, were able to build a three-stall horse barn almost entirely with stuff obtained from people trying to get rid of the items.

How? By scouring a growing number of new, small nonprofit Web sites. Using these “swap” sites, the Larsens found materials including plywood panels, metal siding and nine new gallons of blue Sears Ultra Weatherbeater Exterior paint for which they paid $20.

What are you doing this Earth Day weekend? Give something away, recycle something, and do something for the Earth.

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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.