If you’re concerned about your environmental impact, then working to divert waste from landfills is one way you can make your community a little greener. In 2012, Canadian households produced 14.3 million tonnes of waste, according to Statistics Canada. If everyone on Earth lived in the way that people in Canada live, we would need 3.7 planets worth of resources to support the demands, according to a 2014 report from the World Wildlife Fund.
Living with less waste also means learning about waste diversion, and how you can support your community by reducing the waste that you send to the landfill. Did you know that Habitat for Humanity Halton-Mississauga ReStores have diverted more than 5.3 million pounds of waste in the last six years? Read on to learn about how we do this, and how you can get involved in our environmental efforts.
1. Donate your used furniture to Habitat
You often see furniture left on the side of the road, but used furniture isn’t necessarily waste that belongs in a landfill. Although a piece of furniture might not be right for your house anymore, that doesn’t mean that it won’t be the perfect addition for someone else, especially a new homeowner who is just getting on their feet and looking for affordable furnishings for their home.
With this in mind, consider donating your furniture instead of just automatically recycling it or leaving it at the end of your driveway. Habitat for Humanity offers a free furniture donation service. You can schedule a pickup online, and our team of professional staff and volunteers will come to your home or place of business at a prearranged time. When you sign up online, make sure you indicate if you’d like to receive a charitable tax receipt for the value of your donation if it is $100 or more.
It’s easy to leave your chair on your curb with a sign saying, “Free” but at Habitat we’ve worked to make it easy to donate your used furniture for free, too. Our home pickup option is one way that we’re making it easier for you to donate, and therefore divert waste from landfills. Check out our blog post about donating used furniture in the GTA to see what other organizations offer free home pickup.
2. Donate electronic waste to Habitat
Electronic waste is something you probably have lying around your home — your old cell phones, laptops, TV sets, chargers and other items. In 2012, 71,000 tonnes of e-waste were sent for diversion. Statistics Canada notes that electronic items “may contain materials that, if released to the environment without adequate safeguards or treatment can have harmful effects.” The toxic materials found in electronic items can accumulate in soil and groundwater and can potentially “find their way into living organisms.”
Because of this, ensuring your electronic devices aren’t just sent to the landfill is important. You can join the efforts to recycle electronic devices in the GTA by donating your e-waste to an organization which will dispose of it in a responsible, environmentally-friendly way. Habitat for Humanity ReStore in the GTA accept electronic waste. Donated items are sold to a partner organization who safely recycles the electronics. We’ve written about other local organizations who accept e-waste, too!
3. Donate used appliances to Habitat
Like used furniture and electronic waste, used appliances are also something that most people just send to the landfill. Some household appliances like refrigerators may contain hazardous materials which, like the chemicals in e-waste, have the potential to contaminate soil or groundwater. This is why it’s important to donate appliances instead of just tossing them out.
Habitat for Humanity ReStores in the GTA accept donations of used appliances in working order, and you can also schedule a pickup for your items. If you’re not sure if your appliance will be accepted, call ahead to inquire about the status of your item. Our team reserves the right to say “no thank you” to donation items, but we’re happy to work with you to find another local organization or recycling partner who can ethically recycle your used appliances. You can also find more organizations where you can donate your used appliances by reading our blog post about used appliance donations.
4. Donate used clothing to Habitat
North Americans send 9.5 million tonnes of clothing to landfills every year — and, according to Waste Reduction Week in Canada, 95 per cent of these items could be recycled or reused. Instead of throwing out your clothing or giving it to an organization which will recycle it, donate your used clothing to an organization which will make a positive impact with your donated clothing.
Habitat Halton-Mississauga recently launched our clothing donation program as one more way we are working to divert waste from landfills and reduce our environmental impact. Simply drop off your clothing items to one of the bright blue donation boxes in our parking lots. Check out our blog post about used clothing donation to find other local organizations which accept used clothing.
5. Get involved with our ReVive Centre
As you can see, Habitat ReStores across the GTA offer great opportunities for waste diversion. We’ve also recently opened our ReVive Centre in Mississauga, which allows us to increase our environmental impact on an even greater scale. Our ReVive Centre is an exclusive upcycling facility and workshop where Habitat staff, volunteers and corporate teams breathe new life into donated items. These products then go to one of our ReStore locations, with a special tag indicating that they were made in ReVive. Through reusing materials and products that might otherwise be thrown out, we’re able to divert even more waste from ending up in a landfill. You can learn more about our ReVive Centre, including how you can get involved, by visiting our website.
If you’re looking to maximize your positive impact on the environment, consider the ways you can get involved with Habitat for Humanity locations across the GTA. When you get involved with Habitat through donating, volunteering or otherwise supporting our organization, you’re directly contributing to our efforts to build safe, decent and affordable housing in the GTA.