Thursday, 11 July 2013

Journey through the Ages: The History of the Reuse Centre Accepted Items List

The Reuse Centre turned 6 years old on July 6th and what a great time to reminisce on how far the Reuse Centre has come! The most significant change that the Reuse Centre has undergone is the evolution of our list of acceptable items for donation.
We get questions about why our acceptable items list contains the items it does, so we though we would compile a bit of a history for our readers.

Flashback to early 2007 (before the Reuse Centre grand opening).  The question being tackled was: what to include in the Reuse Centre accepted items list? One starting point was the items collected at the successful once a year Reuse Fairs held in various Edmonton communities. These fairs collected various and select items for schools, daycares and community organizations and it seemed natural to include the vast majority of these items on our list.

A typical Reuse Fair 
These items, like milk bottle caps and bread bag tags, were items not available for reuse elsewhere so it also helped that that Reuse Centre could fill this recognized gap. This reasoning also determined why we decided not to take certain items. For instance, clothes, blankets, toys were not included because there were a large number of organizations that already took them.

The Detailed List of Accepted Items
So, these items were compiled together and the first list was created. At the beginning, the list was a whopping 4 pages long! It consisted of a brief summarized list of items and a more comprehensive detailed list.

Fast forward to 2008. We decided that having two lists was redundent, so we downsized and consolidated the two versions into one.  Going from our original four-page list to a one page durable list just made sense considering we are in the business of making environmentally conscious decisions. 

2009-2010 The list went through more revisions, including organizing items into categories as well as adding and removing items as the demand for items changed. For example, onion bags and panty hose were removed and cables and video games were added.
Compact and user friendly                              
In 2012, the list went over a bit of a make-over. This brighter, more colourful list is presented in a more user friendly format, and includes the Reuse image of the City of Edmonton Waste Management Services. 

Making Reuse easy
The accepted items list has served us very well over the last six years at the Reuse Centre and it has been supported by our customers with every incarnation. Over the last six years we have had over 725 tonnes of materials dropped off and over 500 tonnes purchased by 105,000 customers. Way to go, Edmonton!

Share with us in the comment section your favourite items to buy at the Reuse Centre!

 - Vanessa (Volunteer) & Hayley (Staff)

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