Giving Back While Cleaning Up | EcoCentric Blog

Giving Back While Cleaning Up

by | Energy Conservation

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, most people are ready to reset and accomplish a resolution or two during the new year. While some people might choose to live a healthier lifestyle or start a diet, others might choose to remove the clutter from their lives. Whether you’re getting rid of clothing, furniture or electronics, think of greener ways to toss old and unwanted items before you put them to the curb.

Use some of our helpful environmentally friendly tips while you’re tidying up in 2017.

1.       Reuse or upcycle items that can serve a greater purpose. Find new, creative ways to use items that typically collect dust. Use old shirts as cleaning rags or make drink coasters from old wine corks. You can even restore an old piece of furniture with a fresh coat of paint!

2.       Find a nearby recycling center that accepts specific items. Have old electronics, appliances and batteries? Refer to your province’s recycling rules to find out what items are accepted. In Canada, more than 90 percent of homes have access to one or more recycling program.

3.      Have a yard sale. What you consider trash might be the perfect touch to someone else’s home. A yard sale is a green option to declutter your space – and you might even make some money in the process! If you still have items available at the end of the day, donate them to a local charity or let them go for free.

4.       Donate gently used items to charities around your area. Many charities accept more than just monetary donations. Do some research and find organizations that are in need of gently used books, clothing or furniture.

What Canadian charities accept used items?

If you’re considering donating to a cause right in your area, take time to research local charities and the items they accept. The following three organizations are located either in Ontario or Alberta, but there are plenty more charities located in provinces across Canada.

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The Children’s Book Bank

Founded 10 years ago, The Children’s Book Bank distributes books to children in Toronto’s low-income communities. The organization believes that all children should have the same access to reading and learning materials. It collects used books from families, book stores and publishers to provide a variety of gently used books to the community’s youth – particularly for children up to age 12. The Children’s Book Bank gave out about 400,000 books just five years after it opened its doors, according to the organization’s site.

WIN House

Formerly known as the Edmonton Women’s Shelter, WIN House began offering living arrangements to homeless women and families in 1978. The Alberta-based organization has since supported more than 300 adults and 450 children and provides basic supplies, pet and child care and counselling services. From its youth program to its emergency shelter, WIN House welcomes donations year round to sustain sheltered families. When families are ready to transition out of the shelter, the organization helps them during the moving process – whether it’s providing clothing or a package of household necessities. WIN House accepts kitchen appliances, air mattresses and unused toiletries.

New Circles Community Services

Serving four limited-income communities in the Toronto area, New Circles provides clothing, professional development training and group support to families. With almost half of its clients under 18 years old, the organization works to reduce poverty levels and empower young adults. One New Circles initiative is a clothing bank called Gently Loved Outfits to Wear (GLOW). From prom dresses to maternity wear, families registered with New Circles can shop for all types of donated clothing. The organization also holds other clothing-related events throughout the year such as a Halloween costume shopping day and a men’s suit drive.