Archive | Collaboration RSS feed for this section

Toy exchange

24 Apr

Anyone partake in an Earth Day activity?  Please leave us a comment – we’d love to hear about it!

Today we thought we’d re-share a helpful blog about hosting an exchange party for kids toys.  Many parents nowadays are trying to avoid plastics, and keep their children’s toy collections to a minimum but the pile inevitably grows.  We’ve blogged before about clothing exchanges so why not host a toy/book/child exchange – just kidding, don’t trade your children!

We came across this post from Dawn Friedman (shareable: Life & Art) here a few excerpts:

On the spur of the moment, I sent out an email inviting friends to a used toy exchange. I know my friends and I know that the siren song of de-cluttering and getting a deal was likely to lure most of them in.The basic details were this:

  • Bring your gently used toys, clothes and books to share out at my house the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
  • Expect to rummage through everyone else’s stuff, too.
  • Anything left behind would be donated to Goodwill.

As people began to leave (most of them loaded down with toys for their family and for friends who couldn’t make the exchange), they made me promise to have the exchange against next year. I promised to make it an annual tradition. Everyone agreed that a give away is about ten times more fun when you get to do it in person.

Once everyone was gone, I surveyed the room—we only had a single large box of toys to take to Goodwill. And me? I not only had cleaner closets and a stronger sense of holiday spirit, I also scored a fabulous bag of finger puppets to add to our collection.

Some tips to pull off a toy exchange:

  • Invite a variety of ages. People with babies won’t have much to give and people with older kids might have more trouble finding stuff to get, but having a wide age range promises that most people will be able to find something.
  • Have bags and boxes available so that people can pack up easily.
  • It’s easier to exchange without kids, but it’s likely some children will be there, so have something for them to do elsewhere so their parents can “shop” more easily.
  • Don’t worry about one-to-one trades. The goal isn’t to barter so much as it is to get the goods out of your house and to the people who want them.
  • Be prepared to take care of the leftovers. One of the pluses for my guests was my promise that they wouldn’t have to take any of their old toys back home with them.
  • Don’t forget the tiniest toys, which seem to multiply at the bottom of toy boxes and underfoot. They make great stocking stuffers for someone else.
  • Baggies are useful for keeping toys with lots of parts together. Building toys like Legos or K’Nex especially are more appealing when packaged up, ready for the new owners to wrap.

You can read her full post here.

Not only does this provide helpful de-cluttering and re-distributing but also: puts less pressure on toy manufactures to make new toys, it minimizes the packaging, encourages the investment in high quality products that can be passed on instead of single use disposable toys, and hopefully it starts a trend of collaboration!  So get your exchange on this spring and host a gathering in your community.



put a face on it

17 Apr

Hey folks – our apologies for the lull in blogging this season.  It seems winter really has taken its toll and has even kept us from posting…  For real though, we hope all you No-Waste-Wednesdays regulars have been staying inspired to reduce your waste in many other ways!

This month we’d like to bring up a few topics under the theme of family care.  Check back in 2011 & 2012 for posts on cloth diapers, the one-can-a-month challenge, insect repellents, the plastic toy debate, earth day, and inspiring kids to nurture a relationship with nature.

Earth Day 2013

Earth Day 2013

This year Earth Day 2013 is coming up on Monday April 22nd!  One of the most important aspects to environmental education is to have positive role models who show care and concern for issues of injustice and environmental degradation.  So if you work with kids, youth, students or have young people in your life – use this year’s Earth Day theme as way to engage them.

Earth Day 2013’s campaign is to show the many faces of climate change – check out their video below, use #faceofclimate in your social media and visit their website to upload a photo yourself.   Put a face on climate change!

Become a Waste Watcher

9 Jan

We stumbled upon an interesting story of collaboration this week – writers Jacquie Ottman and Jocelyn Deprez have gathered people together to share their stories of reducing waste in hopes that a shared story will inspire action.  Jacquie started a blog to create culture change around waste…

“Her goal is to empower ardent waste watchers to share the many ways they reduce waste in their lives, and to provide insights into new products, services and behaviors that can help all consumers use less waste.”

Jacquie writes about ways to reuse items, ideas for reducing waste through sharing, how less can really be more, travelling, conservation and many more topics.  We thought we’d share one story in hopes that you’ll go read more

Let’s Collaborate! Sharing as an Antidote to Waste

December 19, 2012 by Melissa OYoung

Lucy twirled around in a flamboyant red dress, struck a pose, and laughed. Lucy was new to London and was trying on a dress at a clothes swapping Swishing party. She loved these parties as she made new friends and could swap clothes she didn’t need anymore with other women. Little did she know she was helping reduce waste and part of a growing movement called collaborative consumption…

Introducing Collaborative Consumption – how wonderful!
Have a look around your home and think about all the things that are ‘wasted’ by not being used. In the US, 80% of items people own are used less than once a month. Waste isn’t just constrained to the garbage you might see on the street – think about the car which is sitting idle on average 23 hours a day or the power drill which is only used between 6-13 minutes of its lifetime. These items can definitely be used more – what a waste!

we hate to waste logo

Collaborative consumption is a term to describe the renting, sharing, and swapping of underutilized assets. The Internet has now allowed people to connect and collaborate in ways not possible before – ‘wasting assets’ can be used more efficiently by linking those who own things with those who want access to them.

Take for example, cars. If you don’t want the burden of owning a car, you can use a car-sharing service like Relayrides (every shared car equates to taking 20 off the road!). Do you ever look at the empty car seats you see on roads and wonder whether you could rideshare to your destination? helps facilitate 1 million rideshares per month.

Have clothes you don’t like anymore? Don’t throw them away! Use a clothes swapping site like ClosetDash which helps prevent clothes from ending up in landfill (and takes up to 400 years to decompose). Collaborative consumption isn’t constrained to just products – it can include things like time, space, skills, or money. Have amazing cooking skills that are just waiting to be shared? Don’t waste your talent! Teach a class on Skillshare and share your skills with your community.

Imagine a more Collaborative World
Imagine a future where sharing helps lead to a more sustainable world … Picture lawnmowers and tools being shared via a shared toolshed on each street or unwanted furniture reused and refurbished in new homes or offices. People having joint meals together through sites like Grub with us or using bike-sharing schemes to get to places instead of cars. There are many things that can be shared!

‘Lucy’ who is helping reduce waste by clothes swapping is actually a real person that I researched and represents many of the girls who are joining the clothes swapping movement today. I was fascinated with how these platforms could indirectly lead to people consuming more sustainably, which led to me writing my thesis on the topic.

My passion for collaborative consumption still remains and I’ve started Let’s Collaborate!, a collaborative consumption event series in New York to inspire and connect entrepreneurs, academics, VCs, and all people interested in the movement together. Through gathering people together, and raising thought-provoking debates, I hope to infect the greater community toward more collaborative, sustainable behaviors.

There is such delight from sharing, lending, or borrowing things – enjoyable experiences that can help reduce waste! Do you have ideas on how we can reduce waste by sharing? Please share your ideas in the comments below!

Open Source

4 Jan

Hello No Waste Wednesday-ers and welcome to 2013!
We’ve been on a little break in these parts but are eager to start up again for another year.

This month we are coming back to our January theme of collaboration and the many benefits associated with it, environmental and beyond…
Check back to our 2011 or 2012 series for posts on collaborative consumption, carrot mobs, skill sharing, etc.

This week we wanted to draw your attention to an incredible initiative called open source ecology:

Open Source Ecology

Open Source Ecology

Open Source Ecology is a network of farmers, engineers, and supporters that for the last two years has been creating the Global Village Construction Set, an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts.

The GVCS lowers the barriers to entry into farming,building, and manufacturing and can be seen as a life-size lego-like set of modular tools that can create entire economies, whether in rural Missouri, where the project was founded, in urban redevelopment, or in the developing world.


You can check out the TED Talk by founder and director, Marcin Jakubowski to hear more or head to their website to peruse the many design plans to build your own technologies that make small or large scale farming more accessible…

Celebrating Earth Day Around the World

23 Apr

April 22nd – Earth Day!

Check out some of the ways people celebrated around the world

Global Earth Day Celebrations

How did you celebrate in your community??  Leave us a comment!

Can spirituality lead to eco-consciousness?

25 Jan

For the last Wednesday focused on collaboration – we’d like to write a little bit about community living and some of the environmental benefits that come with sharing space, land, harvest, energy, etc…

There are many movements across Canada and the U.S. that are poised in this direction – living with a communal mindset to offset our western lifestyles impacts on waste, pollution and emissions (please read Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver or check out littlecityfarm for inspiration).  However we thought we’d go to some of the experts who’ve lived out community and incorporated environmental best practices for centuries.
We came across this article about the Amish way of life – and it seemed to fit perfectly, although still includes an example of a disadvantage in their farming methods…  Here’s a small snippet:

The choices that the Amish community makes naturally lend themselves to simplicity and treading lightly on the land. The article quotes Wendell Berry saying, “The Amish are the truest geniuses of technology, for they understand the necessity of limiting it, and they know how to limit it.”

Not to say that any one group has sustainable living cased but we all have something to learn from each other.  Here’s a super short video on the Amish way of life – you can check out the full film at folkstreams.

Do you know of other examples of modern community living?  Please share!

citizens unite!

18 Jan

Happy Wednesday!  And to those of you in the chill this week – way to go for braving the frigid temperatures.  Today’s post will be quick but empowering – a short video from Annie Leonard on mobilizing ourselves to get together and ensure our voices are heard both at a community level and at a policy maker level…

See you next week!