Amy Riemersma’s cell phone has been dinging steadily with notifications since she started the Shuswap Upcycle page on Facebook.
The notifications are from individuals seeking to join the group and get “upcycling.” This term relates to being able to find new uses for used items, thus keeping them out of the landfill. As Riemersma explained, there are other benefits to a community upcycle group, which is why she wanted to get one going in the Shuswap.
“There were lots of buy and sells, but sometimes people just want to give things away, and sometimes people just don’t have the money or the resources to buy, so it’s a great place for them,” said Riemersma.
Having recently moved to Blind Bay, the mother of five was surprised to find the area was without an upcycle group, explaining they can be a convenient way to get rid of things you no longer need in a hurry. Obviously, they are also a place to find things you might be in search of.
“I found my son’s bike on there, because I was in search of a bike for a 12 year old boy and someone happened to have one they didn’t use, so I got a new bike, new to us,” said Riemersma, adding upcycle groups are also a way to find new homes for items that thrift stores might not accept, such as mattresses.
“When I was moving my parents stuff… I didn’t have a truck or the means to go to the dump, and it’s a shame when you have a perfectly good mattress but just have no need for it,” said Riemersma. “So we posted it to upcycle and one lady came and took all six of our mattresses because she runs a dog kennel.
“Things like that you might think nobody wants it, it’s garbage. Put it on upcycle for a day or two and most likely someone is going to grab it. It saves stuff going into the landfill, it saves someone who has been looking for this item from having to purchase it.”
Rules for the Shuswap Upcycle are fairly straight forward: no selling, trading or bartering, and it is the upcycler to decide who gets the item. Once an item is picked up, the post is removed.
Though it lacks the upcycle name, EVERYTHING for Free in Salmon Arm And area, is a similar Facebook group with more than 4,000 members.