Reduce, re-use and recycle this spring
Now that spring is here, you’re probably thinking of that pile of stuff in your garage that you need to get rid as part of the annual cleaning ritual.
Question is, what to do with it all?
The answer depends on what’s in the pile, but Leanne Koehn from the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society has some tips on what to do with the stuff you no longer want.
“At the recycling society we always start with the basic concept of reduce, re-use and recycle,” says the communications coordinator.
“We believe it’s important to reduce the amount of stuff you accumulate, but once you have it – and no longer need it – we think the starting point should be re-using the items.”
She urges readers to put on their thinking caps to come up with ways to keep the items in circulation so they doesn’t have to be recycled or dumped.
“Give it to someone else if they can use it,” Koehn advises. “Think about who might have a need for the object. Re-gift it, or donate it to a thrift shop, or drop it off at a consignment store or a used-books shop, as appropriate.”
There are several shops locally that specialize in used books, plenty of thrift stores, a few consignment clothing boutiques, and even a higher-end furniture and home décor consignment store.
And don’t forget about places like pre-schools and daycares, she says, which can always use craft items like paper, pencils, crayons – even clean cardboard.
If you’re trying to keep items in circulation, events like a garage sale or a swap meet are great ways to unload unwanted goods and make a few bucks in the process. Three or four hours in your driveway on a sunny day can be a surprising source of pocket money, and a great way to meet the neighbours.
Another good way to get rid of stuff and make a few bucks is by placing your items on sites like Craigslist or Kijiji, where just about anything and everything can be bought or sold.
“We believe it’s better for the environment to re-use an item before recycling it,” says Koehn.
If you can’t find a new home for an item, then the next best step is to recycle it, Koehn offers.
In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, there are several places to recycle different kinds of items.
Most people are familiar with local bottle depots, where you can turn in drink containers for cash, but did you also know you can do the same with most kinds of metals at the local metal depots? They’ll pay you cash for your scrap metal, so if you have enough, it’s a good way to get rid of the stuff.
If you think about where the item came from, that’s your clue as to where you can go to recycle many products, says Koehn. For instance, you can turn pharmaceuticals into your pharmacy, and tires can go to tire shops.
If all else fails, the Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot is your one-stop disposal zone. You can drop all kinds of stuff off there for recycling – from cardboard and plastics, to oil and paint.
• For a full list of what the recycling depot will take, visit www.rmrecycling.org Koehn also suggests calling the Recycling Hotline at 604-732-9253, which is run by the Recycling Council of B.C. Its website is www.rcbc.bc.ca. If an item can be recycled, RCBC will know where that takes place, anywhere in the province.
If you have items you no longer need that could be re-used, rather than recycled, consider the Freecycle event that’s taking place April 20 in conjunction with Earth Day.
The Ridge Meadows Recycling Society and Downtown Maple Ridge Business Improvement Association will be collecting items at drop points in the two weeks leading up to Earth Day.
They’ll then be offered to the public at the Greg Moore Youth Centre, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. People can stop by, and if they see something they need, they can just take it. No charge. It’s a great way to get rid of something by finding it a new home.