OPAL's Trashapolooza swap meet a big hit
Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) volunteer Mike Hawkins helps Chantelle Mitchell and Chris White test a microwave oven that was among a large number of items dropped off to be reused, repurposed or recycled at OPAL's Trashapolooza event in Foldens on Saturday, May 25, 2013. JOHN TAPLEY/INGERSOLL TIMES/QMI AGENCY
Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose – it was all happening in Foldens on Saturday during Trashapolooza hosted by Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL).
A disused municipal garage owned by the Township of South-West Oxford was bustling with activity as people dropped off items they no longer needed and many of them were quickly scooped up by others.
A large dumpster was also filled with metal items to be sold for scrap. OPAL will use the money to help cover the cost of technical experts in its fight against a landfill proposed for a mined quarry in the Township of Zorra.
“There's been an amazing number of people coming in repurposing items,” said Howard DeJong, one of the OPAL volunteers who helped run Trashapolooza. “Someone drops something off and another person says, 'wow.'”
Unwanted items brought to the event included a snowmobile, sports equipment, furniture, gardening supplies, electronics, clothing, books, paint, luggage and toys. Most of them quickly found new homes.
At some points, vehicles were lined up to get into the parking lot and few people who had items to drop off left empty-handed.
“The whole room changed over – filled and emptied – twice by 11 a.m.,” DeJong said.
While it is fighting a landfill, OPAL decided to hold Trashapolooza to do its part in diverting unwanted material from going to a dump and organizers said they are thrilled with the response the event received.
“We've had some quality junk here,” said Karen Paton-Evans, a member of OPAL who helped coordinate Trashopolooza. “Oxford County obviously has a great level of stuff to share. A little tweaking and it's good to go. It's going to go to a good home.”
Emily Tucker of Woodstock and her mother-in-law, Betty Tucker, were among the treasure hunters at Trashapolooza and they said they were having a great time combing through the items that were coming in.
“It's great,” said Emily Tucker. “I've always said it would make more sense if everyone brought their (unwanted) stuff to one location.”
Besides going home with an antique buffet, a popcorn maker, a bicycle, a child's table, a lamp shade and some flower pots, the Tuckers brought several of their unwanted items to Saturday's event.
“Everything we brought has been taken,” said Emily Tucker.
Making two trips to the swap, Betty Tucker she found many beautiful things there, including a complete set of dishes.
She said idea behind Trashapolooza is a good one.
“It cleans out your house of things you have no use for and they stay out of the landfill,” she said. (And) there's stuff people don't know what to do with and it's a treasure to us.”
Anything leftover at the end of the day wasn't automatically trashed. Any items that remained were donated to Goodwill and the Salvation Army.
Food and entertainment were also part of the Trashapolooza experience. OPAL members ran a barbecue concession and local musicians performed during the event.
OPAL chair Steve McSwiggan said, based on the success of the first Trashapolooza, similar events are likely to follow.