Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Reflections on my summer at the Reuse Centre

This summer I was given the opportunity to become a part of the City of Edmonton’s Waste Management family. My role would be carried out at the Reuse Centre as a summer student, assisting with the daily operations of the Centre. I would be getting a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of one of Edmonton’s most effective waste management initiatives.

Patrick sorting through donations

As my time at the Reuse Centre went on, I started to realize how my studies at the Kings University College as a environmental studies student and the operations of the Reuse Centre coincided. At school I had learned about the effects of human activity on the environment and our creation of a society that chooses to be wasteful in nature. Consequently this has led to adverse effects on the environment such as resource depletion, environmental degradation and pollution to name a few. At the Reuse Centre I have been able to see the operations of a service that tackles these socially created environmental issues. The concept of reuse has become very important in changing people’s perception of what is reuseable. I have seen how people are willing to rethink how they conceive what can be done with their unused items. This summer I have realized that Edmonton is full of thoughtful people who take their time to come by the Reuse Centre to drop off items that are in good condition. Items they feel someone else would like to use, when the easier option would be to throw it away.

This interesting book that was donated, a bit dated but still reusable
It is this concept of reusing that allows for the success of the Centre, as well as its promotion of
creativity. After all the idea is to change people’s perception of what is reuseable, by demonstrating to them that with creativity most items can be given a renewed purpose. Whether it’s getting creative with a broken lamp shade or using keys to make a wind chime. Really the possibilities are endless. If anything my experiences at the Reuse centre this summer has demonstrated to me that it’s not merely about encouraging people to reuse. It goes beyond that. It is also about spreading a message of rethinking about what we once considered useless.

- Patrick (Summer Student)

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