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.

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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

Ottawa Tool Library: Coming Soon!

Written by Denise Deby.

Tools by TiBine http://pixabay.com/en/tool-work-bench-hammer-pliers-384740/ CC0 Public Domain
Tools by TiBine http://pixabay.com/en/tool-work-bench-hammer-pliers-384740/ CC0 Public Domain

Ottawa’s new tool library is taking shape!

The non-profit Ottawa Tool Library will be a place that people can go to borrow household, garden and kitchen tools, attend workshops, use the workspace and more.

It makes economic and environmental sense to borrow tools you only need once in a while, rather than buying.

The Ottawa Tool Library’s founders have been working hard over the last few months to get the word out about the library, gather tools, sign up volunteers, find a location for the library and all the things that go in to creating what promises to be a wonderful sharing space.

You can sign up for a membership, or support the Ottawa Tool Library’s Indiegogo campaign. The funds raised will help pay for operating costs and purchase of tools.

You can also donate tools to the library, or volunteer.

Check here for more information: http://ottawatoollibrary.com/

The Ottawa Tool Library

Written by Denise Deby.

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Here’s exciting news—Ottawa is getting a Tool Library!

Tool libraries lend out tools, just as conventional libraries lend out books. Tool libraries have been set up in Toronto, Hamilton, Halifax and Calgary. Most charge an annual membership fee for the opportunity to borrow tools from the inventory.

Tool libraries are a great example of the sharing economy, minimizing the amount of “stuff” people have to buy, and pooling community resources for items that most people need only once in a while.

In Ottawa, the tool library is a non-profit initiative intended to provide people with affordable access to tools. It will open at Arts Court in the new year. Update: The Ottawa Tool Library opened in August at MakerSpace North, 250 City Centre. Check them out here!

In the meantime, the Ottawa Tool Library is holding a tool drive to help them get up and running. You can donate used or new hand tools, power tools and kitchen equipment. Check your cupboards, basement or garage for underused items you might have, clear the clutter and share with others! There are several drop off locations; check the website for details. They’ll be accepting donations again in January, and can use volunteers, too.

Stay tuned for more news about the Ottawa Tool Library!

Twice Upon a Time: Gently Used Books for Kids

Written by Denise Deby.

Children's books - D. Deby

A new volunteer-led initiative is bringing new and gently used books to Ottawa families who can’t afford to buy their own.

Twice Upon a Time supports literacy by making free books available to kids up to 12 years old.

I’m a big fan of the library, which of course makes books available to all Ottawa citizens free of charge. Twice Upon A Time’s founders, who are librarians, teachers and literacy experts, say studies indicate that book ownership is one of the factors influencing success in life. Owning books means that kids can read their favourite books over and over again, too.

Alexandra Yarrow, an acting manager at the Ottawa Public Library, is the driving force behind Twice Upon a Time, which operates as a non-profit and is in the process of obtaining charitable status. Alexandra came up with the idea of collecting and redistributing books to kids who could benefit from them, as a way to encourage literacy skills and a love of reading.

Twice Upon a Time runs a “pop-up” storefront at Heartwood House (404 McArthur Ave.), where two days a week kids can come, have books read to them and take home a book.

Between its launch in May and the end of November, Twice Upon a Time had given away 1000 books to 775 kids.

Twice Upon a Time isn’t accepting book donations right now, because they’ve filled up their storage space. They do welcome volunteers, so check out the opportunities if you’re interested. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for the reopening of donations of good quality books.

Another way to support Twice Upon a Time is by attending their benefit concert on Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014. Voices in Harmony, formerly the Orpheus Choral Group, will perform some holiday favourites. Doors open at 3 p.m. for a holiday bake and craft sale, with the concert starting at 4 p.m. It’s at Trinity Anglican Church (1230 Bank St.) Tickets are $15 (children under 12 free)—check the website for information on purchasing tickets in advance.

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.

 

 

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.