The question Linda Kelly-Smith hears the most is, “Where do I pay?”
And when she replies, “Nowhere. It’s free,” the person’s smile widens.
“I think people love a bargain and this is the best bargain in town,” Kelly-Smith said.
As she has in previous years, Kelly-Smith is gearing up to volunteer at Squamish Climate Action Network’s (Squamish CAN) fourth annual Re-Use-It Fair. The giant free swap has been successful beyond the organization’s wildest dreams, she said.
At last year’s event, hundreds of citizens helped divert more than 97 tonnes of material from the Squamish landfill. The premise of the day is simple — show up at the parking lot next to the Squamish Adventure Centre with usable items you’re trying to get rid of. They’ll be sorted and then picked through by residents on the hunt for upcycled treasure.
“I’ve seen stuff that never touches the ground,” Kelly-Smith said. “It goes from one truck straight into somebody else’s truck.”
This year, Squamish CAN is focusing on ensuring items people haul to the fair are re-usable. At the end of the day, organizers don’t want to truck junk to the landfill, Kelly-Smith said.
The fair is a part of the network’s zero-waste initiative. With most residents recycling paper, plastics and glass, the group wants to educate people on curtailing waste and reusing items. Squamish CAN is partnering with the District of Squamish to reduce the amount of waste sent to the community’s landfill, Kelly-Smith said.
“I think that that is where the next push needs to be,” she said.
Squamish CAN is seeking volunteers to help out with the Re-Use-It Fair. The event takes place on Saturday, May 11, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteers are needed to help organize items as they come in, direct traffic, load and unload vehicles and, once the crowd has dispersed, divert the left over materials to recycling outlets rather than the landfill.
Last year, 15 people volunteered at the fair.
“We need at least twice that,” Kelly-Smith said.
To volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org.