Burlington’s Reuse Centre is closing up shop
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.