On the Move

The Reuse Centre is one of Edmonton’s little gems that deserves more notice. It first opened its doors in 2007 and has since diverted 802 tonnes from the landfill. To put it into perspective, that’s about the weight of 69 ETS buses. “The items we receive tend to be quite light, meaning the volume we have diverted is large,” Reuse Coordinator Kristin Arnot points out. “On average people donate 12 tonnes a month.” The items range from calendars and used greeting cards to trophies, tins and wool. Most of the materials accepted at the Centre are not accepted by non-profit groups. According to Arnot, the idea for the Reuse Centre was community-driven. “It evolved from the Garbage Fairs organized by community volunteers many years ago, who advocated for a place where people could bring materials on a year-round basis,” she said. “Waste Management Services saw a need in the community and a direct link to its landfill diversion goals.” Reuse volunteers sorting-X3 I’m a personal fan of the Reuse Centre. Every time I’ve donated items, I’ve taken time to browse through the bins and have always found something I can use in a collage or project of one kind or another. At $5.00 for up to 50 kg, the price is right! When construction started on the new projects planned for downtown, I was afraid the Centre would close. Fortunately, it is relocating from in front of the CN Tower to the corner of Argyll Road and 83 Street. Arnot sees many advantages to the move. “The Centre will be much larger which means we can accept more items and provide a more enjoyable shopping experience,” she says. It will also have lots of free parking, and is on a major bus route. “Our downtown location was cramped and people complained about the lack of parking.” More space will allow the Centre to add about 40 items to the already extensive acceptable items list. “This means there will be about 250 items we want to reuse and give a second chance instead of disposing of them,” she says. A few of these new items include: professional moving boxes, USB keys, small hand tools and beer bottle caps. Another advantage is that the space will allow the Centre to offer on-site workshops, which Arnot says are in huge demand, and showcase up-cycled and reused art from local artists. The people who use the Reuse Centre are as diverse as the items themselves. It’s a resource for people interested in arts and crafts, for collectors and for those who believe in waste reduction through reuse. The new Centre opens on July 2. “The Reuse Centre has been, and will continue to be a community hub for encouraging and embracing reuse,” Arnot says. “This will help Edmonton to reach its goal of 90% waste diversion from landfills.” For more information, please visit Reuse Centre.

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About the Author
Shirley Serviss
Shirley Serviss is the City of Edmonton's first Writer-at-Work. She is a founding member of the Writers' Guild of Alberta and Edmonton Poetry Festival. Her poetry, essays and articles have appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines and textbooks. She currently teaches in Communications for MacEwan University, works part-time as the staff literary artist for the Friends of University Hospitals' Artists on the Wards program and is president of Artists Urban Village.
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