The best way to reduce waste is to avoid it in the first place. By sharing things, swapping what we don't need anymore, and repairing what we have we can avoid buying 'stuff' and build community at the same time.
Toronto hosts a whole range of great community initiatives to share, swap and repair!
Sharing things instead of owning them makes a lot of sense - and it saves money! The Toronto Public Library is one of the largest library systems in the world, and by borrowing books, cds, dvds and computers, library users are common examples of how many of us already 'share'. Car-sharing and bike-sharing programs, and DIY bike-repair workshops help people get around with less cost. More recently, projects like the Toronto Tool Library, and Kitchen Library share expensive but rarely-used equipment - everything from wheelbarrows to juicers!
When you're done with something, why not swap it with someone else for something you might need? Clothing swaps, toy swaps, and book and media swaps have been growing in popularity. Swapsity organizes large scale swap meets - the next one is Sunday June 8th at the Harbourfront. Other common swap sites in Toronto include Little Free Libraries on residential streets or apartment buildings.
It can be harder to find a place to repair an old appliance, but repairing what you have is another way to send less to landfill. Toronto's Repair Cafe holds events where teams of fixers will show you how to repair things for free - their next event will be on June 14. The Repairathon team hosts free events with volunteers to help you mend and patch your clothing - their next event is on June 7.
Have you shared, swapped or repaired something recently?
Share your story in the Waste Free Challenge #4 - Think Twice Before You Buy! (& you'll be on your way to a prize!)
Photos: Top - Swapsity Media swap courtesy of Swapsity. Bottom - Little Free Library by ge'shmally