What should you do with your stuff? 

Recover, reduce, reuse, recycle (the 4R’s)

It can often seem like a hassle to know what to do with all of the stuff we accumulate.  No one likes to throw things away, especially when someone else might be able to use them or when the items can still be worth money. Check out our ideas, tips, and tricks to divert common household items from landfills!

There are so many benefits to buying items secondhand rather than brand new. For starters, used items do not use up additional resources, they do not generate pollution, they generally do not require additional packaging, and they can save you money! Before throwing away or replacing broken toys, furniture, appliances and clothing try maintaining or repairing them. If it must go, many organizations are always looking for donated goods.

Since these items are destined for the homes of other people, make sure that all donated items are clean, functional, and in good condition.

You may know about the City of Montreal’s Ecocentres, but did you know many other stores and organisations collect items to recycle them?

Ecocentres are recycling centres across the island of Montreal accessible by all residents of Montreal (regardless of original neighbourhood; proof of residency is required). They accept non-functional large appliances (refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers), non-functional small appliances (microwaves, irons, radios, toasters, blenders), construction material (toilets, baths, sinks, tiles, bricks, windows, moldings, hardwood floors, doors), household hazardous waste (used paint, aerosol cans, medication, batteries, car batteries, oil filters, used oil), non-functional electronics (computers, screens, printers, copiers, TVs, VHSs, DVDs), furniture, and clothing. Each ecocentre additionally has a donation box where functional items can be recovered and reused.

  • Small electronics (including cell phones, cameras, MP3 players, ink cartridges, peripherals, headphones and charger, etc.) : Electrobac at the Legion Memorial Rink (220 Bedbrook)
  • Batteries: Montreal West Town Hall
  • Mattresses: Recyc-matelas
  • Eye glasses: most optician's offices and glasses stores
  • Metal hangers: most dry cleaners
  • Paint: most hardware stores
  • Pills: all pharmacies

With the advantage of the internet and social media, there can be a home or creative solution for virtually all of our waste. Incorporate DIY projects into arts and crafts with your kids. If you're a teacher, daycare instructor, camp counsellor or nanny you can incorporate these activities into your program planning. Take something old and make it into something new to liven up a new space, apartment, or home. Or maybe you know an artist who could benefit from your old junk. We’ve compiled a list, along with links, of easy DIY ideas for basic household items that most often end up in our landfills.

DIY ideas

If you no longer want an item, chances are someone else will, so it's a good idea to look into how you can swap, sell or rent your things.  Having a garage sale is a good way to declutter. You can also post items you are wanting to sell on notice boards online, at recreation centres, or libraries. Search for rental services near you for things like tools, outdoor gear, party supplies, and costumes. Have a clothing swap with friends or neighbours, or you can also place an advertisement on online websites that practically do all the work for you.