We are super lucky here in the Cariboo Regional District (CRD). We are one of the few remaining districts in B.C. that still allows and operates share sheds for the community. They are excellent waste-diversion opportunities. The public can bring their unwanted items normally destined for the landfill. In turn, people who are in need of such items can take them home — for free!
The cost to operate and maintain these share sheds is absorbed by the CRD with the tax dollars they collect from property owners. These same dollars operate our landfills, recycling and garbage collection facilities. Most share sheds you visit in the Cariboo region are unmanned, there is no paid person organizing the items for display or relaying to the public which items can stay or should not stay.
A lot of share shed items are great, however, many are not; broken electronics are not meant for the share shed. There is a recycling option for these. Dirty and stained clothes are not meant for the share shed. Give those to a mechanic who needs grease rags. A race car track missing 1/4 of the pieces will not be magically reassembled while it waits for the next hopeful child. An inflatable air mattress with holes in it or a weather beaten plastic table with only two legs left will be thrown out. Currently, about 1/3 of the items left at the share shed end up in the landfill.
Bring only good, working items to your share shed. Couches and tables that are still sit-worthy are always welcome. Kitchen goodies are a great help for people just moving into a new home. Gently used sports equipment can be an excellent find for the struggling parent wanting to put their kids through a sports program. Furniture with all parts complete can be brought here. Simply put, bring things you would give to a friend in need.
When you place a box of mixed donations on the floor it usually stays there, explodes somehow, then gets weathered and walked on. Broken and beaten, these mixed boxes end up becoming landfill.
This is where I want to send a huge thank you to all the volunteers who take some time out of their day to help keep these sheds tidy. In order to keep the share shed we must continue to treat it with respect. Otherwise, we might end up like the other districts in B.C. who have completely got rid of the extra hassle and cost required to operate them.
With your help we can keep our share sheds alive and thriving!
Conservation Tip of the Month: We have taken the time to label the shelving at our local Williams Lake Share Shed. There are spots for bags, holiday decorations, kids’ toys, books, working electronics, puzzles, movies, kitchen stuff and even clothes. When dropping off your items, please take the time to put them on display in the proper places to avoid them going to the landfill.
Oliver Berger is the chief green officer with the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.