OPAL and OCSJ to Host TrashapaloozAHA 3! – Free-Cycling Festival
INGERSOLL – Building on last May’s very successful event, Oxford People Against the Landfill (OPAL) and the Oxford Coalition for Social Justice will be hosting TrashapaloozAHA 3! Sat., September 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Sweaburg’s Lions Ball Park, located at 474379 Dodge Line, with a final drop off time for items at 2:00 p.m. This free family festival aims to give discarded items a second chance to find a useful purpose and to keep them out of the landfill.
As the name suggests, this is the third TrashapaloozAHA event that OPAL and Oxford Coalition for Social Justice have partnered to present. The first two events were held at Foldens in May 2013, then at the Ingersoll District Memorial Arena in May 2014 as a way to create an AHA! moment for the community, timed with the annual municipal large item curbside collections.
The success of these first two events prompted organizers to follow-up with a third event. “We learned from the first two that there is definitely a demand for this type of giant swap-meet,” the Coalition’s Bryan Smith says, “not just in Ingersoll but throughout Oxford County.”
Feedback from the May 2014 event suggested that holding such an upcycle event outside of Ingersoll would be equally successful, and Sweaburg was chosen as a suitable location for its easy access to all of Oxford.
The genesis of the event came during the 2012 spring garbage collection, when Ingersoll residents were struck by the irony of discarded item piled next to their “Stop the Dump” signs. “OPAL determined we needed to be more involved in reducing the amount of stuff that ends up in the landfill,” says OPAL chairperson Steve McSwiggan. “As concerned citizens, we have united against any future landfilling, by any proponent, in our county.”
The grass roots, non-profit residents groups’ response was to create TrashapaloozAHA!, a community free-cycling event that encourages residents to bring their cast-offs to a central location where everything is free. This September, throughout the day, residents of Oxford County can bring in their items to Sweaburg, including things that would normally be put out for municipal large item collection, and donate them. Attendees of TrashapaloozAHA 3! will be able to check out and take home items including home décor, construction, furnishings, gardening, garage, sporting goods, fashions, books, magazines & comics, entertainment & electronics, kids’ stuff, and more.
“The TrashapaloozAha! concept has been an outstanding success. People have donated still functional furniture, dishes, toys, construction materials, lighting fixtures, garden pots, golf clubs, motorcyclist’s leathers, fish tanks with accessories, a telescope, electric guitar, baby items and so much more. They’ve also brought old parts and other salvageable stuff that could be used for repairs and up-cycling,” says Smith, “Others were glad to find them and to have them for free.”
“As we now know from experience, TrashapaloozAHA! attracts dumpster divas, pickers, eco-artists, do-it-yourselfers, stage designers, crafty kids, motorheads, gardeners and just about everybody else,” Smith says. “It was fun, watching little children carefully pick out their new free toys. Some people came back throughout the day to scoop new finds. Stuff was flying out of our doors. By the end of the day, very little was left to send to the landfill.”
People are also encouraged to donate items that can be stripped for copper and other metals then sold to a recycler to help raise funds for the battle against Walker Industries’ proposed mega-landfill. OPAL and The Oxford Coalition for Social Justice are also undertaking the safe collection of used batteries and paint dropped off by attendees. Fusion Youth Centre will be collecting old computers, televisions and other e-waste.
During last May’s TrashapaloozAHA event, held at the Ingersoll District Memorial Arena, approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of discards were diverted from the landfill and given second chances by new owners. A truckload of e-waste was hauled away by Fusion Youth Centre; a utility trailer of construction material was diverted to Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store in Woodstock and a vanload of household items was delivered to local charity shops.
Building on the momentum of the most recent event, organizers anticipate the day will net even bigger results in Sweaburg. Additionally, it will be an opportunity for the community to meet in passing and to share diversion strategies.
“Every item we can keep out of the municipal landfill and put to good use is a victory for us and our environment,” Smith says, adding “The fact that TrashapaloozAHA! is a blast is a bonus.”
As an OPAL Alliance member, the Ingersoll District Nature Club also supports and participates in the event. Sheila Fleming, Club President, advises that the day is a success from their perspective as “it helps to ensure landfill use is reduced.” Oxford County’s landfill at Salford has an enviable record of reducing infill through the many recycling opportunities they support. “TrashapaloozAHA 3! is one more useful step to waste less.”