Balanced Clothing and Sweet Tea

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Francis Dellosa, B∆LANCE, for the information.

Image courtesy B∆LANCE Clothing
Image courtesy B∆LANCE Clothing

Two Ottawa companies are getting together to spread the word about their products and the benefits of collaboration among sustainable local businesses.

B∆LANCE Clothing uses organic cottons, bamboo blends and other eco-conscious materials to produce its hand-printed, made-in-Canada clothes. B∆LANCE’s team, led by Kim Kirton and Francis Dellosa–both international development specialists–wanted to create an ethical and sustainable alternative to the “fast-fashion industry.” A social enterprise, B∆LANCE supports the team’s efforts to build awareness about ethical and socially responsible consumerism. (Kim is also behind Sprout, an initiative to get fresh produce into convenience stores around town.)

My Sweet Tea offers bubble tea, fresh fruit smoothies and other enticing products as well as a place to socialize, with locations in Chinatown and the ByWard Market.

The two businesses are hosting a pop-up showat My Sweet Tea in the ByWard Market (11 William St.) on Saturday, Jul. 30, 2016 from noon-8 p.m. It’s an opportunity to meet the people behind the businesses, sign up for giveaways featuring products from other local businesses, and check out B∆LANCE, which doesn’t have a retail store yet. They’re online at http://www.becomebalanced.org/.

 

Advertisements

The Cost of Clothing

Written by Denise Deby.

TheTrueCost_Poster_2764x4096

Ever wonder about the real cost of the clothes you buy? The real social and environmental costs?

The True Cost is a documentary about what it costs for people and their environments to produce the clothes we wear.

Inter Pares is screening The True Cost at its next film night, Thursday, May 12, 2016, 6:30-9 p.m. at its office (221 Laurier Ave. East). There’ll be a discussion afterward with David Bruer, Inter Pares and Sarah Carpenter, former researcher with the International Labour Organization in Bangladesh.

Check the Inter Pares website for more information and to RSVP.

*  *  *

Clothing swaps are a greener alternative to buying new. In clothing swaps, people pool their unused clothes, and everyone gets to choose some to take home. You can organize one with your friends, or head on down to Black Squirrel Books on Sunday, May 22, 2016 for their clothing swap. As well as an opportunity to swap your gently-used clothes for some that are new-to-you, it’s a fundraiser for the Ottawa Mission and St. Joe’s Women’s Centre.

Where to Donate Clothes and Furniture

Written by Denise Deby.

Clothes - D. Deby

If you’re clearing out stuff you don’t need, and think someone else could use it, consider these options:

Agencies in Ottawa are co-ordinating to collect clothes and household items in good shape for refugees and residents in need. Councillor Rick Chiarelli has posted a handy map here of drop-off locations and links for Ottawa Neighbourhood Services, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul and other organizations.

Helping With Furniture collects used furniture and household goods from certain parts of the city for delivery to refugee families. See details here.

Matthew House operates a Furniture Bank for people in need.

Organizations such as the Ottawa Mission and Cornerstone that provide shelter and services to people sometimes accept clothing and personal items, but check first to see what they need.

Dress for Success and Suits His Style provide professional work clothing to women and men who are economically disadvantaged.

Clothing and other donations to the Youville Centre go to young mothers and their children.

The Snowsuit Fund makes winter jackets, mitts and other outerwear available to kids who need them.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore accepts furniture and e-waste.

St. Mark School is hosting an Electronic Waste Collection Depot this weekend. Find them on Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 from 12-4 p.m. at 1040 Dozois Road in Manotick. (They’re also collecting gently used clothing.)

Alternatively, take your e-waste to EnviroCentre or another official centre or event near you.

You can consult the City of Ottawa’s Take It Back program to find out where to recycle or discard used clothes, household goods, electronics, hazardous materials and other things, or use their “Waste Explorer” to search for where to take a specific item.

There are lots of donation boxes around the city, but if you use them make sure they belong to a legitimate charity.

Remember to recycle only things in good condition that someone else will want—don’t use these services as a way to get rid of junk.

Recycling used items is good, but it’s also good to donate cash (or volunteer) for causes you care about, and/or groups helping people stay out of poverty and conflict in the first place.

Buying Recycled, and Recycling for Good

Written by Denise Deby.

Blue reusable shopping bag by TooHotToHandle at en.wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
Blue reusable shopping bag by TooHotToHandle at en.wikipedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

September brings pressures to buy stuff, like fall clothes and school supplies. Buying sustainable is one option; re-using, recycling and buying local or handcrafted items can be great alternatives.

Here are a few opportunities to shop local and/or repurposed:

The Old Ottawa South Community Association holds its Community Wide Porch Sale on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. The sale includes a tool drive for the Ottawa Tool Library, and an e-waste depot that supports Hopewell School Council and HealthBridge. CentretownSandy Hill  and other communities are also holding neighbourhood-wide garage sales on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, Sept. 12, the new 613flea, a non-profit marketplace for artists, artisans, antique vendors, vintage clothing sellers and other creative types to sell their wares, launches at Lansdowne Park. At the annual punkottawa.com flea market at the Bronson Centre, you’ll find records, clothing, jewelry, art and more.

Update: Dress for Success Ottawa is holding a Fall Hidden Treasures Sale on Saturday, Sept. 12 until noon. Proceeds support DFS’s efforts to enable women in difficult circumstances to obtain clothes suitable for work.

(When you’re cleaning up at home this weekend, gather up any empty beer and wine bottles—if you return them to Beer Stores on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12 and 13, 2015, all of the proceeds support Rogers House, which provides respite and palliative care to families at CHEO.)

Stock up on used books when Friends of the Ottawa Public Library hold their next Mammoth Book Sale on Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at 100 Tallwood Drive. You can also purchase used books at many library branches; proceeds support the library through FOPL. If you’d like to donate books, check here for details on what’s needed.

Another place to find used books is at Karen Learning and Education Opportunities (KLEO)’s Annual Book Sale on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Dovercourt Recreation Centre and Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Royal Canadian Legion’s Westboro Branch. Book purchases will support KLEO’s work to provide education for Karen children in Thailand.

If you’re looking for home renovation supplies, check out Habitat for Humanity’s ReStores—there’s one in Ottawa East and one in Ottawa West. Profits support Habitat for Humanity. They also accept donations of building and home décor materials, although it’s best to call to find out what they need. The stores also accept used electronics for recycling.

Need a bike to get to work or school, or just to ride? Try re-Cycles or Cycle Salvation. They sell refurbished bikes, and also accept bike donations. Check their websites for details.

Play It Again Sports and Tim’s Used Sports Equipment sell used athletic gear. Kunstadt Sports also has a selection of used equipment.

For second-hand clothes and accessories, in addition to thrift stores, try consignment stores like Rikochet ResaleClothes Encounters of a Second Time, The Clothes Secret, AMH Style and Boomerang Kids.

Update: On Saturday, Sept. 19 during Tastes of Wellington West, if you buy a used t-shirt at St. Vincent de Paul, Twiss & Weber will help you upcycle it as part of their #FabCollab.

Update: Also check out Etsy Made In Canada Day on Sept. 26 and 27 for crafts and products made locally and/or from reclaimed materials. There’s a growing list of vendors here.

Need more suggestions? Try http://ottawastart.com/directory/shopping-services/used-stuff/. And please let us know in the comments if you have favourite sources.

Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale 2015

Guest post submitted by Ecology Ottawa.

From 2012 Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale photo courtesy Ecology Ottawa https://www.facebook.com/ecologyottawa/photos_stream?tab=photos_albums
From 2012 Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale photo courtesy Ecology Ottawa https://www.facebook.com/ecologyottawa/photos_stream?tab=photos_albums

The Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale is back!

Ecology Ottawa’s 8th Annual Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale | Saturday, May 23, 8am-4pm | 680 & 690 Bank Street (at Glebe Avenue, in the Rogers Plus and Kunstadt Sports parking lots)

It’s your favourite time of year again… Soon the entire Glebe will be abuzz with lawn-hawking like you’ve never seen. It’s this annual mecca of bargain-hunters from near and far that gave birth to Ecology Ottawa’s Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale!

Ecology Ottawa is working to make Ottawa the green capital of Canada, and the Great Glebe GREEN Garage Sale has become one of the organization’s flagship annual events. What started as a humble fundraiser in 2008 has become a carnival unto itself that community members look forward to each year.

This isn’t your average garage sale – this massive event also features a vegetarian BBQ (join us for lunch), a bake sale (including hot coffee at the crack of dawn), and live musical performances. We will also have representatives from Ecology Ottawa on site to tell you more about the organization, as well as massage therapists (to help you relax after a long day of shopping), fun activities for kids of all ages, a water bottle refilling station on site, portable public washrooms for the community’s use (when nature calls), and much, much more!

In the past 7 years, this event has helped divert countless tonnes of potential waste from Ottawa landfills and raised nearly $50,000. All items sold at the event are collected from over 200 supporters from across the city, and all proceeds raised go to charity (90% to Ecology Ottawa, 10% to The Ottawa Food Bank). Best of all, everything is coordinated by an amazing team of over 100 volunteers each year, and we have had a blast doing it!

There are many ways to get involved in this fun community event – you can donate your unwanted items, volunteer and/or bake for the event, and of course, come and do some bargain shopping on May 23rd. For more information on how to get involved, please click on the links below:

For more information on how to get involved, click on the following links:

Please help us to spread the word about this event to family, friends, colleagues, teammates, and the people you sit next to on the bus. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more info, please visit our web site at http://ecologyottawa.ca/garage-sale/.

Ecology Ottawa 2G4S 2

Holiday Gift Ideas from EnviroCentre

Guest post from Carol Burnup, EnviroCentre.

Photo courtesy of EnviroCentre
Photo courtesy of EnviroCentre

Carol Burnup at EnviroCentre asked Green Living Ottawa to help get the word out about the earth-friendly products available in their recently renovated boutique.

She says EnviroCentre’s products are intended “to help people conserve energy, reduce waste, or assist in increasing sustainable transportation usage. They are also, where possible, upcycled, minimally packaged, locally or domestically made and functional.”

Here are some of her gift or stocking stuffer suggestions:

1. Pure Beeswax Candles: Handcrafted in Ontario from pure beeswax by the artisans at Pheylonian Bee Works, beeswax candles make a beautiful and functional gift. Beeswax burns with a bright and hot flame producing none of the toxins associated with paraffin wax candles.

2. Mohair Socks: Made just outside of Ottawa, these socks are warm and comfortable with cashmere-like feel. Theromhair Mohair is not wool and those with wool sensitivities can enjoy these premium quality socks. Great for outdoor enthusiasts, as well as those with poor circulation or diabetes.

3. Organic Cotton Bath Sets: Glo-organics offers the finest quality cotton bath products for your gift giving pleasure. Made in India where cotton has a long history of cultivation, Glo-organics uses only certified fair-trade and organic cotton ensuring that both worker and the environment are respected.

4. Wool Felt Dryer Balls: Wool Felt Dryer Balls from Didi Bahini allow you to give the gift of savings and better health. The David Suzuki Foundation reports energy savings as high as 50% (of dyer energy use) through the use of dryer balls. Our wool felt dryer balls come in a set of four balls and are stored in an attractive crocheted style cotton bag.

5. Abeego Food Wraps: Abeego reusable beeswax food wrap products are made in Vancouver from hemp, cotton, beeswax and tree resins, Abeego food wraps can be used many times and eliminate the use of petroleum based, non-recyclable food wrap. Abeego wraps keep food fresher and are a functional gift that you can give with pride.

The boutique is currently open longer for the holiday season and holiday hours of operation and location are on EnviroCentre’s website: http://www.envirocentre.ca/enviroboutique/

Here’s more from Carol about EnviroCentre:

EnviroCentre is the go-to source of practical services and programs that help individuals and organizations conserve energy, improve environmental health and act more sustainably.

We have three main areas of focus:

Building Energy Efficiency: We offer energy assessments and energy retrofit solutions for your home, business or property.

Sustainable Transportation: We offer workshops, tools and incentives to help you or your organization discover the benefits of transit, biking, walking, carpooling or car sharing.

EnviroBoutique: We sell environmentally-friendly products related to energy efficiency and sustainable transportation and are an e-waste drop-off centre.

For more information on the services and programs we provide, please visit envirocentre.ca.

 

Swapsity Spreads the Benefits of Swapping

Written by Denise Deby.

Photo courtesy of Swapsity (via Facebook)
Photo courtesy of Swapsity (via Facebook)

It’s not easy to be a green consumer. Even though environmentally-friendly products are becoming more widely available, many of the things we use in our daily lives are produced in unsustainable ways, and too often, when we’re done with them, they end up as garbage, or as clutter that causes us stress.

There’s another way to buy less stuff, produce less waste and save money while still getting things we need: swapping. Swapping is an ages-old tradition that’s gaining new ground as people realize they can exchange what they no longer want for things they can use.

There’s now an online community that’s making it easier for people to swap: Swapsity.

Swapsity allows you to exchange things like clothes or toys your kids have outgrown for bikes or a tool set, for example, or turn that fancy juicer you never use into a weekend cottage get-away. Past swappers have traded wine glasses for a bookcraft supplies for a DVD set, planter and notebook, and even kitchen renovations for a car.

As well as stuff, you can swap skills and services on Swapsity. If you’re a savvy gardener or know another language, you can share your knowledge with someone else, and in return get those guitar lessons or that e-bike you’ve been dreaming of. If you run a small business, you can trade goods or services, such as your excess organic produce for web consulting, or personal training for marketing advice.

Marta Nowinska created Swapsity about five years ago, leaving her Bay Street investment banking job to launch an online swapping service for Canadians. When I spoke to her by phone, she summarized the benefits of swapping:

  • Financial: “Swapping essentially saves you money. Instead of using your hard-earned cash, you’re trading your skills, your time, your clutter. …Considering that an average Canadian is $27,000 in debt,…it’s just financially smart to integrate barter into your budget.”
  • Environmental: “It’s green. You’re trading your pre-loved items, you’re extending the lifecycle of products, you’re keeping useful items in circulation and out of landfills.”
  • Social: “You’re sharing with people, you’re building new connections. A number of people report making new friends through swapping.”

You can browse or view available items on Swapsity’s website. To participate, you sign up on the site (it’s free), list the things you own that you’d like to trade, and add the things you’d like to find, and Swapsity will generate swap matches based on your location. You can send messages to others through the site, and after you’ve reached agreement, you exchange items (usually in person or by mail).

Swapsity has a feature you can use to keep track of what friends and other trusted swappers are swapping, and the site provides information and safety tips. You can find out more and get started at http://www.swapsity.ca/barter101.

Swapsity also organizes swap events. So far, these successful events have been focused in Toronto, but Marta tells me they are open to organizing more events in other cities, including Ottawa, if there’s enough interest and some volunteers to help out.

Giving away your used stuff is one way to recycle it, but what I like about swapping is that it places value on what you’re offering up, and what you have goes to someone who really wants it—you’re not just passing on your trash. Swapping is also a way for individuals to make small changes that can add up.

As Marta explains, Swapsity is building a swapping economy that will coexist with and complement the existing cash economy. “Our recommendation is swap for at least five per cent of your budget, to save money, to be eco-friendly, to build communities and more connected relationships. This is something where once we reach critical mass you will be able to tap into this amazing resource where you can get pretty much anything on barter.”

You can check Swapsity out at their websiteon Facebook and on TwitterSwapsity welcomes volunteers, so if you’d like to see more swapping happening in Ottawa online or through events, you can contact them at volunteers@swapsity.ca.

Check it out and let us know what you think!