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.

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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.

Doors Open Ottawa, Giveaway Weekend and More

“Maplelawn Gardens” photo by Jeremicus rex – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Maplelawn_Gardens.jpg#/media/File:Maplelawn_Gardens.jpg

Written by Denise Deby.

There’s no shortage of things to do this weekend, June 6-7, 2015.

Doors Open Ottawa opens the doors to more than 120 Ottawa landmarks and interesting places. If you’ve ever wanted to see inside an embassy, an architecturally significant building, an artist’s studio, a greenhouse or a historic site, check the list (and schedule).

Giveaway Weekend happens June 6-7. You put household items you no longer want on your curb, mark them “free,” and people can take them away. (There are some restrictions—for example no cribs or car seats–so check the website for guidelines.) Lots of garage sales happen this weekend, too, so you might find something that you need (and keep it out of the landfill). Check OttawaStart or Used Ottawa for locations.

Saturday is also the Great Canadian Lemonade Standemonium, where people set up lemonade stands in neighbourhoods all over the city. The event supports the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

Ottawa Veg Fest is a celebration of all things vegan and vegetarian.  Organized by the National Capital Vegetarian Association, the event includes talks on health and sustainability topics, exhibits, food samples and cooking demonstrations. Admission is by donation.

Fletcher Wildlife Garden’s Annual Native Plant Sale is on Saturday, June 6. It’s the place to find native wildflowers and find out which plants are best for your yard or garden.

Velo Vogue’s Fashion Show is on Saturday, June 6. Get inspired to ride your bike, and check out local clothing and accessories, food and drinks. Proceeds support RightBike.

Random Hacks of Kindness might be your thing if you’re interested in brainstorming with others about environmental and social challenges. Participants will be designing apps for the Child and Nature Alliance of Canada, Ottawa Riverkeeper, VoteSavvy and other organizations from Friday, June 5-Sunday, June 7.

Part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival June 4-13, The Global Savages (June 8-13) is described as an 18,000 year old story that presents the world view of Indigenous people, told by the Debajehmujig Storytellers, in outdoor performances that evolve as the storytellers engage with people and places. The Global Savages are also inviting people to join them early on Saturday, June 6 from 4:45 a.m.-8:00 a.m. for a Sunrise Walk on the Sentier des Voyageurs Trail from Gatineau to Ottawa.

Electronics Recycling Depot

Posted by Denise Deby. Thanks to Susan Elsdon and St. Mark School Council for the information.

St. Mark eWaste Recycling Event Flyer

Not sure what to do with those old computers, cell phones and other electronic stuff?

St. Mark High School and Ontario Electronic Stewardship are hosting an Electronics Recycling Depot on Saturday, April 11, 2015.

You can bring used equipment (check here for a list of accepted items) to the school at 1040 Dozois Rd. between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Drop-off is free.

(If you can’t make the Depot, you can find other e-waste drop-off locations here.)

(Update: RecycleYourElectronics.ca has some tips here for recycling electronic devices.)

Cycle Salvation and RightBike Bike Harvest

Written by Denise Deby. Thanks to Deepak Sekhri of Causeway Work Centre for information.

Step-through bikes used in RightBike's fleet of shareable bikes. Photo courtesy Causeway Work Centre.
Bike share RightBike uses donated, refurbished bikes in its fleet. Photo courtesy Causeway Work Centre.

Here’s a different kind of harvest: Cycle Salvation and RightBike are holding a “Bike Harvest” on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

You can bring in bicycles that you’re no longer using, and Cycle Salvation and RightBike will refurbish the bikes and put them to good use.

Both groups are social enterprises of the Causeway Work Centre, which supports people to find employment when they’re facing physical and mental health and other barriers.

Cycle Salvation trains and employs people as bike mechanics, while keeping used bikes out of the landfill. RightBike’s community-based bike-share service provides active and sustainable transportation in neighbourhoods around town.

At the Bike Harvest, Cycle Salvation is looking particularly for adult road/racing and hybrid bikes, while RightBike needs three-speed bikes with step-through frames.

You’ll find the Bike Harvest from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8 in the parking lot at 1520 Caldwell Ave. off Merivale Rd. between the Queensway and Baseline. It’s hosted by Ottawa Community Housing. Rain date is Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014.

 

 

Switching Gears

Written by Denise Deby.

Long weekend - D. Deby

Back to school, back to work, new activities, changing weather—this time of year is often a time of transition.

Here, we savoured the last day of the August long weekend with a bike ride along the Ottawa River and a picnic at Britannia Beach. New routines start today, but I’m hoping we can continue to relive the good parts of summer as we head into a new month.

Some ideas for extending the green of summer:

Go outside

As summer holidays wind down, getting outdoors can be challenging. Spending time in nature has great physical and mental health benefits, though. Walk or bike to work or school. Balance screen and structured activity time with outdoor pursuits. Go for a walk, fly a kite, stop at the park or by the river.

Go recycled

If you’re stocking up on school or office supplies, look for eco-friendly notebooks, paper and other gear. Go for 100% post-consumer recycled paper, and avoid plastic and vinyl. For paper products that are a little special, check out Ecojot, sold in many shops around town. You can also find wonderful pencil cases, backpacks and bags made from recycled materials; try terra20EcoEquitable or EnviroCentre.

Go green

For lunches, single-serving packaged foods can seem convenient, but they produce a lot of garbage. Buy in bulk, prepare portions at home and use reusable containers–many stores carry stainless steel and cloth options. Use a reusable mug for coffee or tea. When it comes to clothing, shop vintage or used when possible, or organize a clothing swap. This time of year is a great time to (re)discover drying laundry on a clothesline–another way to get outdoors.

Laundry - D. Deby

 

14 Ways to Green Your 2014

Written by Denise Deby.

IMG_1412
Mud Lake trail, Britannia, Ottawa – Denise Deby photo

For most of us, living more sustainably is a work in progress. If the new year has inspired you to think about making eco-friendly lifestyle changes, or you’re seeking encouragement to continue and deepen what you’re already doing, here are a few ideas:

1. Go outside. Studies show that spending time in nature makes us happier, healthier and more engaged in protecting the world around us. Go for a walk around your neighbourhood, try out a recreational path or nature trail, run errands on foot or on your bike.

2. Find out what’s happening in your community. Get involved with a community garden, sign up with a group or organization working on environmental issues, stay informed about what’s happening locally, provincially and nationally.

3. Take sustainable transportation more often: walk, bike, bus or carpool. Remember that most of us use more than one of these modes of transportation in our lives; variety is okay.

4. Buy local food. Look for local producers. Invest in area farmers through a Community-Supported Agriculture share. Participate in a garden-sharing or tree-food program. In the spring, find a local farmers’ market. Grow some of your own food if you’re able. Join Just Food to help create a vibrant, just, sustainable food system in Ottawa.

5. Support clean energy. Contribute to green energy through Bullfrog Power—when you use electricity or natural gas, they’ll replace it with energy from clean sources. Invest in solar and renewable energy systems through the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-opReduce the energy you do use.

6. Conserve and protect water. Start with the Ottawa Riverkeeper’s “10 things you can do to protect your river,” and “10 reasons to say No to bottled water.”

7. Put fewer chemicals into the environment. Check the City of Ottawa’s list of more sustainable alternatives to common household cleaning products.

8. Get toxins out of your system. Download Environmental Defence’s guide to top 10 ingredients to avoid in personal care products, and the David Suzuki Foundation’s “Dirty Dozen” cosmetic chemicals to avoid.

9. Reduce the plastic in your life. Plastics are made with non-renewable resources, and they get into our landfills, waterways and oceans. To reduce your dependence on plastic, get inspiration from Beth Terry at “My Plastic-Free Life”—she has a good list of practical suggestions on her website.

10. Compost and recycle. Many of us still don’t! Use your green bin; according to the City of Ottawa, almost half of the city’s garbage by weight can be put into green bins. Check the city’s website for information on where to take your electronic waste for reuse or recycling.

11. Consume less and still get what you need by contributing to the collaborative economy. If you have a library card, you’re already participating; we get books from the common pool so we don’t all need to buy and own the same books. Curb your buying and expand your sharing with services such as Ottawa Freecycle or Swapsity. Join a bikeshare or carshare. Organize tool-sharing or a clothing exchange with neighbours and friends.

12. Take responsibility for the land we inhabit and the water we share by taking some time to find out what Idle No More is all about. Check out the local initiative Niigaan In Conversation, which is bringing people together to try to build a positive relationship between Indigenous peoples and non-native Canadians, in order “to create a future that is just and peaceful and beneficial to everyone living on this land.”

13. Keep learning. Find out what’s going on, for example, with Canada’s environmental laws and capacity to protect our environment through science, research, programs and facilities, and what we’re doing–or not—about climate change.

14. Make your voice heard. Write letters to decision-makers, sign petitions, take a stand on things that are important to you. Vote. Positive change happens when people take action themselves and when they demand action from their leaders and representatives.

Feel free to give one or more of these ideas a try, and please share other suggestions you have.