Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Swap Shelf 101 - Sharing and keeping stuff out of the landfill - WIN WIN!

What do you do when you find a perfectly good shelf in the alley, whilst walking home from work? 
....And when you've been racking your brain for months on how to have a good system so that people waste less...and give/share more? 

Why you implement a SWAP SHELF - that's what! 

Found these in the Landfill bin...all still perfectly usable - heart breaking...but it was time to no longer sit by idly as I watch people toss perfectly good stuff! While diverting this..my head was racing.

......found in bin - once destined for landfill

I was a bit weary because I had been burned in the past....I tried to start something similar before, a year or so ago....and was met with a bit of opposition i.e. someone ripped my sign down, still unsure where it went....so perhaps a bit more than a bit of opposition.

This was my first attempt - perhaps a bit too much writing....
and there was never any shelf set up...
I had placed the sign on wall, to the right of the landfill bin.

But I figured, it was worth another shot, and I finally reached the point where the pain of not doing it and watching what goes into landfill was now greater than the pain of being shut down when I had tried before. 

So I figured, I'd take what I learned, and make it different this time, and hopefully people will use it and benefit from it.

This time I decided to keep it short, and sweet....but with my verbose nature ...it was hard to keep it simple. After a few iterations, I opted for this....a play on "have a penny leave a penny.." that reminds me of my childhood and sharing our cents to make peoples lives easier at the check-out. :)

The sign on the right placed on the door to the "recycle room" (formerly know as "waste room" and renamed (not officially but I refer to it as this)....by yours truly...language is important....many subtleties) - it lets people know if they have stuff - they have THREE options 1) Swap Shelf 2) Location of nearest thrift shop (5 min walk, if that) 3) Diabetes Association - Clothesline Program (offering free pick-ups!) 

Minutes after it's set up....the stuff on here is all stuff I found in the bin....but soon enough (same day and day after)...the items change! 

Yay!! Someone added their boots! 

Some items gone, some more items placed....a beautiful ebb and flow
 - keeping it out of the landfill low and our hearts full! 

If you have any questions or want to chat about starting something like this in your building....I'd be happy to help! 

Soon we will have electronics recycling, battery recycling, light bulbs, and soft plastics....can't wait! It's been a looooooooong time coming. But sometimes, things can only work best when the people are ready to have them.... it's a bit of an ebb and flow itself. 

I'm feeling super grateful for the positive feedback both verbally from folks in building, including our security staff, and in action (by placing and taking items), I've received.... yes to everyone! 

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