Edmonton centre proves one's trash is another's treasure
Last Updated: Monday, January 14, 2008 12:52 PM ET CBC News
A warehouse in downtown Edmonton that connects people dropping off unwanted items and others picking up recycled treasures has in six months diverted 26 tonnes of waste from the city's landfill.
The Edmonton Reuse Centre, which is run by the city at 100th Street and 103A Avenue, was started last summer to encourage people to reuse items and redirect waste from landfills.
More than 5,000 people have taken advantage of the centre in six months, said Amy Baxter, the facility's co-ordinator.
Coffee cans, trophies, yarn, floor tiles and tennis balls may seem like junk to some people but teachers, arts groups and bargain hunters are snapping up the treasures.
"I think one of the things that surprised me was that we take the egg cartons and when I first started we had hundreds and hundreds of egg cartons. We were a little concerned about them going out again. But now we can't keep them in," said Martha-Jean Clarke, who helps sort donations at the centre.
It is free for people to drop off items, while customers are charged a flat rate of $2 for a load or an annual fee of $20 for unlimited loads. There are no restrictions on the size of each load.
The centre does not accept furniture, clothing or appliances and works with other agencies and charities to ensure it is not taking items that could be used by them.
Supplies for arts and crafts most popular
Erin Tempest, an art student at the University of Alberta, was shopping at the centre for the first time, looking for items for her art projects.
"Some dried flowers, some cellophane, a paisley tie," she said, sharing what she had in her basket. "Stuff with cool textures is what I'm looking for or is what is appealing to me anyway."
In the next aisle, Veronique Drouin pushed her shopping cart carefully up and down the narrow aisles, scanning the overflowing bins.
The great grandmother shops at the centre two or three times a week, looking for embroidery and fabric.
Centre eyes expansion next year
Unloading a van full of Christmas wrapping and odds and ends, it was Elaine Hunter's sixth stop at the centre before her move to Vancouver.
"I'm cleaning out the basement. After 40 years of a big house, we're downsizing," she said. "I've had people taking things out of my car. I don't even get them in [the centre]."
Business is so brisk that the centre will be looking for a bigger home once the lease expires on its current location next year.
"We think it's just going to keep on getting busier and busier," said Baxter.
"We do lots of regulars but we also have lots of people who here finding this a whole new thing that they can do, so I think that's a huge thing that we're going to get bigger and better."
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
One man's trash is another man's treasure
What an excellent idea!