Keeping the planet green, one item at a time

Evergreen Brick Works drew a crowd of environmentally minded shoppers to drop, swap and shop

Evergreen Brick Works
Shoppers browse the clothes at the Evergreen Brick Works. Tyrone Henry/Toronto Observer

The Evergreen Brick Works was bustling with shoppers from all over Canada on Sunday, drawn by an assortment of gently used items at an event that works to keep things green.

Drop, Swap & Shop is held twice a year. It allows shoppers to reduce their waste and breathe new life into donated items. From children’s’ clothes and sports equipment to shoes and even instruments, there was no shortage of choices.

Attendees could donate up to 15 items in return for swap tickets to be used as currency at the event.

“It’s an opportunity for members of the public to get involved in the sharing economy,” said Cameron Dale, project manager for the public-markets team. “We invite the public down to drop off pre-loved items and they can be swapped with other members of the public so that we’re giving thousands of items new homes within the city, stopping them from becoming landfill.

“What we want to do is show people that there’s an alternative to just throwing things into the trash, that we can treat all of these items as a resource, give them a new home, and let other people love them and use them.”

Ryan Fukunaga, the business director for Free Geek Toronto, and other members of the company were present, collecting electronics and e-waste alike.

Free Geek gathers donated electronics to refurbish, and disposes of e-waste responsibly. Their goal is to promote social and economic justice, working toward giving everyone access to a computer and internet.

“Free Geek’s a non-profit that takes unwanted electronics and uses them to help people who face barriers,” Fukunaga said.

“Everyone’s got a drawer of wires and stuff they don’t want. They should consider donating it to Free Geek instead of it going into the garbage.”

Alan Ching and his daughter had come to the Evergreen Brick Works from London, Ont., to find clothing for his granddaughter.

“She has a new baby, so she’s exchanging some baby stuff,” he said.

“It’s my first time here, and I find it interesting. There’s a restaurant and a lot of different stuff. If Toronto developed this into a tourist spot, that would be great.”

Drop, Swap & Shop is a biannual event that has been going on for five years. It was also held this year on April 22.

Those keeping an eye out for Free Geek can find them at the Eco Fair at the Barns or at their location at 180 Sudbury St. in the Queen and Dufferin area, or online at

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Posted: Oct 16 2018 12:51 pm
Filed under: Arts & Life