Wednesday, October 5, 2016

SWAP and SHOP Curbside Now that’s a green idea!

Would a curbside swap work in your town and how does it work?


Would a curbside swap work in your town and how does it work?

Here in the US we have several recycling alternatives.  One popular one, is an annual swap event at the town transfer station.  Each year the town of Concord MA hosts a swap and residents transport their disposed items to the facility and "drop off and swap off". . Our town has a town swap two times a year at the transfer station and it saves 500 tons each time from the landfill.  Imagine what you could do if it is curbside!

Some towns have permanent "swap shops" at the recycle facility Some have a permanent book swap, some a paint swap, and some a "put and take" shop for furniture and household goods.  Many facilities have all of these facilities in various buildings or trailers to recycle many kinds of reusable items. 

But sadly, not every town or place has or can have this.  Many cities have no space for a transfer station and rely on curbside pick up. Such is the case in the USA as well as the rest of the world. 

One of my favorite alternatives, I first witnessed was in Germany. The town of Ludwigshafen held two curbside swap and shop events each year.  They reserve specific dates for a Clean Out.  Residents leave good reusable items such as furniture, household, toys etc on the sidewalk between certain times and other residents can take them. Everything left over gets picked up by the town for disposal.  Certain conduct rules apply.   

The towns of Halifax and Saskatoon, Canada recently had just this sort of event, they called them Curbside Giveaway Weekend and Saskatoon Curbside Swap . 


The "Treasure Hunt" theme is modeled on highly successful events held in other Canadian cities. Residents in Ottawa have enjoyed biannual events since 2007 and Winnipeg began hosting the event in 2009. 
Here are some of the guidelines they used for their successful event:

Would a swap like this work where you live? 

It seems that it could be a great green  alternative in towns that do not have a transfer station or swap facility available on a permanent basis or urban areas where most residents have little access to cars. It's a great way to recycle useful things and purge!  

Why not try this in your community or neighborhood? Or get your town recycle committee to organize such a "swap and shop" event.

It's a zero waste way to dispose!

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