Purge, but save the landfill

With the year drawing to an end, there is a sentiment we often hear: “Out with the old and in with the new.” To me this sounds like the rallying cry for consumers everywhere, and it scares me a little, but regardless, at this time of year we find ourselves rearranging furniture to find room for the Christmas tree and many of us use this time as an opportunity to purge and clean our surroundings. Instead of sending “stuff” to the landfill, here are a few suggestions for diverting and recycling positively. Welcome to my week of trying to teach the kids to be community-minded, environmentally responsible, …and tidy!

Parents and grandparents: perhaps you are noticing more toys underfoot than being played with? There are some great ways to get kids involved in culling the heard of toys, movies, and games before any more appear.

Our first stop was the hospital, where we dropped off movies and a couple of board games to the children’s unit. I’d heard on Facebook they were looking for movies, and the volunteers at the front desk of the hospital confirmed this for us. My son was quite sad that “innocent people are hurt and suffering.” He hoped the movies or games would bring them a smile. I assured him that they would.

Our second stop was Christmas Cheer. In addition to a number of gently used toys that the kids had outgrown we also donated new pyjamas. (Women in Crisis is also accepting new pyjamas and toys). I am pleased to report that my daughter again raised funds at her birthday party for Christmas Cheer, and she purchased several new toys for children less fortunate. The  Christmas Cheer Depot is located at 1601 Wellington St. E., (the former Sir James Dunn high school). They also take cash donations and food donations until December 18. Their hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The depot can be reached at 705-575-9660.

The next stop, was not charitable, but effective. We traded in old video games and got store credit at Future Shop and EB Games. While at the former, I noticed a box on the counter, to recycle old batteries, which allowed me to continue my cleansing journey outside of the kids’ rooms.

I never seem to make it to the Household Hazardous Waste Depot at 115 Industrial Park Crescent in the summer, so I had quite a big bag of old batteries, both rechargeable batteries as well as regular ones, ready to go.

Turns out that if you, like me, have been stockpiling some items and don’t want to wait until the Spring, there will also be a one day event on January 17th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to dispose of paints, oils, batteries, pharmaceuticals, sharps, fluorescent bulbs, car batteries, and 20 pound propane tanks, among other things. (I also learned that halogen bulbs should be disposed of at the Household Hazardous Waste Depot as they can explode in the garbage). Got questions of whether something you have should be disposed of at this event? Call 705-759-5201.

Home Hardware, Future Shop, and Canadian Tire all have battery recycling, and the latter also took my old CFL bulbs. Staples took my old printer cartridge, and also recycles old ink, batteries, and quite an extensive assortment of electronics.

Community Living Algoma also accepts electronics at 285 Wilson Street. The Wilson Street location also takes packing Styrofoam, in case you get a new flat screen television and need to dispose of your old CRT model along with all of the Styrofoam that was packed around your wonderful new television.

The final quick round up of kitchen gadgets, clothing, shoes, toys, and sporting goods led to my last call, to the Kidney Foundation at 1-888-414-3484 for household pick up, though I alternate calls to the Diabetes Clothesline program at 1-800-505-5525 as well. They both have bins around town if you prefer to get rid of “stuff” immediately.

Looking around the house, I felt good that we’d de-cluttered a bit, but didn’t burden the landfill, and we found ways to bring joy to others in the community.

Mission accomplished: tidying up and getting the kids to feel good about it!

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