CORNWALL, Ontario – The first edition of what hopes to be an annual swap event took place on Saturday at the future Cornwall Arts Centre, 159 Pitt St.
Organized by members of the Transition Cornwall+ Waste Reduction Group in partnership with the City of Cornwall’s Environmental Services Department, the event aimed to promote sustainability in the city and give items new life by diverting them to new owners instead of the landfill.
Books, glassware, clothing and more were all brought in and traded at the event. Additionally, event attendees were invited to bring their dead batteries, old glasses, burnt out lightbulbs and e-waste to be dropped off and properly disposed of.
Throughout the day, there were also workshops to inform guests as to the different ways they could live more sustainably.
Kat Rendek presented a seminar entitled “Give Food Scraps a Second Chance,” Ashley Skidders informed the public on tips and tricks for low-waste parenting, and Julie Denis held a workshop on homemade, eco-friendly cleaning supplies.
“The goal of today is to cultivate more and more awareness of how our lifestlyes affect the planet,” Rendek said.
She estimated that more than 100 people attended the Swap, Share, Repair event on Saturday and she hoped that the event would be held again next year.
City of Cornwall Waste Management Supervisor Danielle Watson said that events like these helped promote awareness around the three Rs.
“Reduce comes first, then Re-use, and then lastly Recycle,” Watson said, explaining that more waste that is diverted away from the landfill would help extend the life of the site.
Right now, according to Watson, there are around 10 years left of space at the Cornwall landfill. She estimated that the cost of closing, and then maintaining the closed landfill site once it is full could be as much as $36 million.
Watson had a few tips of her own to members of the public who want to live more sustainably and who want to keep as much waste as possible out of the landfill.
“The number one thing is to pay attention to what you are buying,” she said. “Think about where it is going when you are done. Our world is not perfect, but if you can make our world a little more sustainable, that’s a start.”