EcoHawks FreeStore event is repurposing otherwise discarded items

Graphic by Kash Patel

This O-week, the Laurier Sustainability Office and EcoHawks are teaming up for a FreeStore. The pop-up shop will be open for the entire first week of September 2018 and will offer free items to students and the community.

While the pop-up shop is open at Laurier, it is open to the community, including schools like the University of Waterloo and Conestoga College. Items range from kitchenware and office supplies to clothing and accessories.

“We aim to have a triple impact,” said Tyler Plante, Laurier Sustainability Office representative. The FreeStore aims to impact the environment, community and students in a positive way by promoting sustainability, without any costs or exceptions.

“[Sustainability] just makes sense,” Plante said. “It’s about not living wastefully.”

But how is a Freestore promoting sustainable living?
    According to Plante, most items available are gently used and donated.

“I’m really impressed by the clothing that was donated … we [also] have around six panini presses and coffee presses that look brand new,” Plante said.

The Freestore is meant to act as a fun and fast way for people to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Whether they are looking to move out, a new wardrobe or need some essentials for their homes.

“If you’re moving for the first time ever, it’s really tempting to hop on a bus and go to Walmart … but we know [a lot of items] end up on the curb [by the end of the year],” Plante said.

Plante and his team plan on bringing awareness to sustainable living in the community by making it convenient for student budgets and time.

“[It’s a] cool and free option [for students] to refurbish their homes,” Plante said.

Through donations and collections, the team was able to organize a store to help the community and students alike find environmentally friendly items without breaking the bank.

Plante also suggests some simple ways students can live a more sustainable lifestyle.

“One of the first things I suggest is knowing your impact,” Plante said. “There’s something called the ‘Earth Overshoot day … [which] is essentially [the concept that] if everyone lived like me, how long it would take [all of] us to use all of the planet’s resources?”

“When I calculated it, the results were very surprising to me,” he said.

While the FreeStore aims to promote sustainability and reduce waste and overconsumption, Plante suggests that other lifestyle choices can help reduce waste as well.

“Eating a plant-rich diet has a huge impact,” he said. “Cattle [are currently the] third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”

Sustainability plays a huge role in pushing for a FreeStore. It allows students and the community to practice reducing their waste consumption without financial or time barriers.

Through donations and collections, the team was able to organize a store to help the community and students alike find environmentally friendly items without breaking the bank.

“We are working to solve our waste problem while offering a great way for [students to] furnish their homes or get … textbooks,” Plante said.

While moving out of the house seems intimidating at first, shops like the Freestore aim to help support incoming residents. By offering economic and environmental support, students are able to get the essentials without leaving a dent in their wallets.

While change can be frightening, it can also bring new and exciting opportunities to the table. Participating in local communities and learning how to maintain a healthy and sustainable life can help bring out the best in yourself, the community and within the world.

    Leave a Reply