If you’ve been working on your own low waste habits and are now thinking about what else you might do, here are some suggestions for projects you could tackle. Some of them have the added bonus of helping others in the community.
1) Clothing Swaps: People bring their unwanted, still in good condition, clothes and swap them for someone else’s. It’s a great way to thin out your wardrobe and add some new-to-you things at the same time. You can do an informal gathering where all the clothes go into the middle of the room and everyone sits around chatting and going through the pile. You can also be more organized, with clothes dropped off ahead of time, stations for different sizes or styles and people browsing the stations like in a store.
Variation - Item Swaps: You can do a swap for any type of item. It can be broad, like for household items, or specific, like kids’ toys, cake pans, plants, art, Dungeons & Dragons Guidebooks etc. We’d love to hear about any weirdly niche swap events you try.
2) Repair to Donate: Think of something that you have the skills to repair, like computers, small appliances, clothing, darning socks etc. You could offer to repair the items and donate them to community groups. A good place to start is with the wish lists for organizations in your community. Is there something on those lists that you can repair?
Once you know what item you want to repair, collect them from your friends and family! You can also ask a church, community group, or local business to put out a call out and collect them for you. Another option is to reach out to places that already receive this item as a donation and leave your contact details. They can call you if they get items that need repair/mending you can fix them and give them back!
SWRC’s Warm Hearts project collects mendable winter jackets and has volunteers repair and donate them. You could do this on your own without an official program. Ask a church, community group, or local business to put out a call out and collect them for you, or you can reach out to places that already receive clothing donations and leave your contact details. They can call you if they get items that need mending, you can fix them and give them back!
3) Collect Recyclables: If you have a vehicle and some time, you could help out by collecting items that don’t belong in the curbside recycling bin and delivering them to the right location. This can be something you offer only to people you know, or you can make it public and organize pick ups with people in your neighbourhood or community. Look up what recycling programs exist in your community. One way to do this is to search SWRC’s Waste Reduction Hub by entering your community and leaving the materials box blank. Then, decide which items you want to collect and let the people know.
This is just a selection of ideas for people who want to expand their waste reduction impact. We’ll have more suggestions in future blogs. Stay tuned!