The “Marie Kondo” effect is seeing more people than ever finally unloading all the items they have been hoarding and cleaning out their homes, offices and lives in general. While only surrounding ourselves with items that “bring us joy” is great for our mental wellbeing, thrift shops around the world have been inundated with junk. Not just unwanted treasures, but broken toys, stained bedding, ripped clothing and dangerous electronics. Although the desire to declutter should be encouraged, what do you do when half of the things you want to get rid of really aren’t able to become someone else’s treasures?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The environmental impact on how we dispose of our unwanted items is no longer something to be debated. We are all aware of the effects we have on our environment. People are choosing to try and reduce the amount of waste we produce, but it is a struggle. Particularly when you are trying to declutter!
Trying to reuse items doesn’t just mean using a plastic grocery bag as a rubbish bin liner. When you are looking at junk removal in Langley many firms aren’t simply hauling your collection away in a large truck and dumping it in a landfill. They are sorting through to find items that can be reused. Whether that means that they are given to a thrift shop or repurposed in another way.
Social media is full of advice on ways you can covert old items to new, just look for ‘upcycling’. From using old clothes and linen to create woven rag rugs, through to turning plastic bottles into works of art, garden twine or even a green house to grow veggies all year round. Community groups have come together to tinker and try to restore or upcycle a range of items. So, before you send your junk to the dump or broken treasures to the thrift store, have a look around to see if you have a tinkering group in your areas.
Many items are also able to be recycled. Not upcycled but melted down and reused. Plastics, paper, glass and metal are all able to be recycled. However, they do need to be sorted first, as this isn’t don’t at the recycling center.
In Vancouver, BC the recycling scheme is run by a non-profit organization called Recycle BC and looks after all household recycling: https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/recycling.aspx
What about Big Item Removal?
Passing on a box of shoes or kid’s toys is one thing. Trying to dispose of an old bed, car or sofa can be more difficult.
Cars & Machinery
There’s actually good news if your decluttering includes getting rid of cars, machinery or even just parts of old motorbikes. If you look around you should be able to find a junk removal specialist who will actually pay you to be able to take these off your hands. The amount will vary on the size, condition and type of vehicle or machinery, but generally it will be enough to help recover the cost for disposing of all that other junk you have lying around.
Sofas & Beds
No one wants your sofa that is incredibly comfortable if you can avoid that one spring the pokes up, or your mattress that the cat had kittens on. You will just need to bite the bullet and pay someone to take these away. However, the good news is that many of components can be recycled.
Spa Pools & Building Material
Unless it is a hazardous material, such as asbestos, you shouldn’t have any difficulties finding a local company who specializes in waste removal coming and taking the left-over products from your renovations. Where you may strike problems is if you are working with a one-man-band who simply don’t have the man power to physically lift certain items by themselves, or don’t have a truck large enough to take big items away.
Paint and Chemical Disposal
These are another problem item to dispose of. They absolutely must be disposed of properly, so if you are including these in a pile of things that are being collected you will want to ensure that your junk removal firm knows about them and will be disposing of these items appropriately.
If you want to ensure that any paint or chemicals that you are getting rid of are not just thrown into a landfill you can take them to be recycled. There are 8 recycling centers in BC that deal with hazardous household waste. There is no charge for you to dispose of your paint, pesticides, fuel or other flammable liquids (learn more here).
Illegal dumping can be you throwing a bag of rubbish on the side of the road as you drive along, or a company that is disposing of toxic waste in parkland, as well as a range of offenses in-between. In British Columba a private citizen caught illegally dumping household rubbish can face fines of $10,000. However, throughout the region each council has implemented their own regulations around punishments, with some offences resulting in fines of $200,000 or more.
If you are using a third party to remove your junk, rubbish or hazardous waste, you will need to do a little bit of homework to ensure that they are disposing of waste appropriately. Ideally you want to work with someone that will recycle, repurpose or reuse as much as possible, but at the very least you want to ensure that you are working with someone that will dispose of your rubbish legally and responsibly.
Often people will set up a flyby-night company on a Facebook page offering cheap waste removal services. Unfortunately, the reason these are often so cheap is that they are not processing the rubbish correctly. If they are dumping your items illegally it may be you that ends up paying the fine, even if you hired them in good faith.