Waste Reduction Week

Yesterday was the start of Waste Reduction Week in Canda so I’ve decided to reuse some tips from my 11 March 2013 post on Spring Cleaning: Getting Rid of Stuff! Most of these will apply to Vancouver, BC only. I’m sure you’ll be able to find the equivalent for your city or country. 😉

How to reduce, reuse, and recycle:

Clothing:

  • Donate: This is the part where you simply give away without having anything in return.
    • Clothing bins
    • (Homeless) Shelter
    • Value Village, Salvation Army
    • Family, relatives, or friends: you can pass on your clothes to your younger siblings and cousins!
    • Freecycle: give away your things and look for items you need!
    • Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre – clothing, hygiene necessities, cosmetics, etc.  See full list.
    • The Cinderella Project: Think prom – cocktail dresses, evening wear, gloves, shawls, jewellery, handbags, etc. Accepting donations from January 2014 on.
    • Dress For Success: These have to be work-approved clothing, shoes, and handbags, and must be no older than 3 years.
  • Swap: This is ‘free shopping’ where you get rid of clothes you don’t fit in and find something else you like.
    • Clothing Swap:
      • If you have the time and know friends/acquaintances who’d be interested, organise a clothing swap
      • Join Meetup group Vancouver Clothing Swaps to attend one of their clothing swaps.
      • The Frock Swap – clothing, shoes, accessories (points-based swapping)
      • Swap-O-Rama-Rama: an annual clothing swap at the Museum of Vancouver. Personally, I’m not a fan of this as it’s a free-for-all as opposed to points-based and many of the items/clothing donated were not in good condition (clothes were stained and linty, shoes looked like they’re from the Holocaust). Whatever’s not taken home is donated to charity.
    • The Hanging Rose: a shop on Granville St. (between Helmcken and Nelson) that takes in fashionable new to gently used clothing for store credit (full) or cash (half points).
    • 99dresses – swap your clothes on this app! US only. :/
  • Sell: Make some money back as you get rid of your clothes.
  • Recycle:
    • H&M Conscious Clothing Bin – Donate used clothing, even those in tatters. One bag will give you $5 off your next $30 purchase.
    • Recycle your clothes at a textiles recycling company.

Books:

  • Book bins – Donate books for children & adolescents
  • Vancouver Public Library – Accepts books, magazines, DVDs, CDs. Whatever they don’t use, they will sell at their book fair.
  • Value Village and Salvation Army – Resells your reading materials.
  • Book swaps – Organise a book swap with friends or acquaintances at school or at work.
  • Pulpfiction Books: sell or trade your books.

Sell (in general):

  • Craigslist
  • Kijiji
  • eBay
  • Garage sale: this didn’t work so well for me as my neighbourhood is pretty anti-social. 😛

What to do with:

  • Bras –
    • If your bras is in wearable condition, some shelters will accept them. Apparently, WISH will accept new and gently-used underwear.
    • Some places in the UK and US will recycle the materials and make new bras for women in Third World Countries. Couldn’t find anything similar in Canada.
    • Last year, Change lingerie accepted used bras for $1 discount.
  • Panties – As mentioned above, WISH will accept new to gently-used underwear. I say, if there are stains or holes, they should be recycled. Problem is, where?
  • Pantyhose – There is a company in the States called No Nonsense that will recycle pantyhose and turn them into things like park benches, toys, and carpets. Sadly, I can’t find the equivalent in Canada. One creative idea is to use the pantyhose and fill it with rosebuds or lavender as closet fresheners.
  • Used make-up – WISH, Back to MAC (recycle your empty MAC make-up)
  • New make-up – Beauty Night SocietyDress For Success
  • Prescription Glasses – Third World Eye Care Society Canada
  • Towels & blankets – ideas: give it to your pets; use as a bath mat; if in good condition, donate to shelter

It seems that Canada still has a long way to go when it comes to the 3 R’s. And if Vancouver truly wishes to become the Greenest City by 2020, we will need more companies that will recycle all of the things we shouldn’t have been tossing into our bins!