Burling­ton’s Re­use Cen­tre is clos­ing up shop

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NATALIE PAD­DON npad­don@thes­pec.com 905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

A Burling­ton store that helped what was old be­come new again for al­most 25 years is clos­ing its doors.

The Re­use Cen­tre, a not-for­profit sell­ing re­us­able house­hold items out of its 21,000-square-foot ware­house, has to be out of its 3335 North Service Rd. lo­ca­tion by the end of Septem­ber.

“Things like fur­ni­ture, cloth­ing, house­hold items that you didn’t use — who didn’t have two or three cof­fee ma­chines at one point in time? It all had to go some­where,” said spokesper­son Martin van Zon.

When it opened in 1992, the con­cept of the reg­is­tered char­ity run by the Burling­ton Re­use En­vi­ron­men­tal Group was new to the com­mu­nity, he said. To­day, that’s not the case, and that’s a good thing, van Zon said.

Other like-minded or­ga­ni­za­tions also sell re­cy­cled goods, keep­ing them out of the trash. But it also means busi­ness at the oper­a­tion run by five em­ploy­ees and 15 vol­un­teers has seen a dip, es­pe­cially in the past three to four years, he said.

It’s been a grad­ual de­cline, a roughly 10 per cent loss each year, but it adds up when they’ve been pay­ing to rent the large, in­dus­trial space just north of the Queen El­iz­a­beth Way in Burling­ton, van Zon said.

“I think in the hey­days they may have done as much as let’s call it $50,000 a month type of thing.”

Since The Re­use Cen­tre launched, the re­cy­cling land­scape has changed lo­cally as well as across the prov­ince.

Start­ing in April, Hal­ton be­gan col­lect­ing bulk waste — large house­hold items weigh­ing more than 50 pounds — ev­ery other week with res­i­dents’ trash.

Look­ing back, it was less than 35 years ago when the first blue box re­cy­cling pro­gram was launched in Canada — in Kitch­ener-Water­loo — with 1,500 res­i­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in 1983.

Amy Sch­nurr, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the en­vi­ron­men­tal group Burling­tonGreen, said she is grate­ful for the al­ter­na­tive The Re­use Cen­tre pro­vided to the “throw­away cul­ture” back when they opened.

“An op­por­tu­nity to get those gen­tly-used goods, ex­tend their lives a lit­tle bit and avoid them from go­ing to land­fill is a great thing,” she said. “That’s the frame­work that Burling­tonGreen is ad­vo­cat­ing for.”

Coun. Jack Dennison said he’s sad to see the Burling­ton store go.

“The Re­use Cen­tre did some other things that were spe­cial … fur­ni­ture for peo­ple who needed used fur­ni­ture,” he said. “It was also a place for peo­ple to take fur­ni­ture that they no longer needed and know that it was go­ing to some­one who needed it and not in the land­fill.”

The cen­tre will con­tinue to ac­cept do­na­tions un­til Aug. 1. A storewide clear-out sale has al­ready

be­gun in an ef­fort to get rid of as many items as pos­si­ble be­fore the end of Septem­ber.

A closed-bid auc­tion is also be­ing held for close to 1,500 col­lectible books from the 1800s and 1900s.

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