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If you love garage sales, you need to read this

Jing Niu is organizing Vernon's first ever city-wide garage sale.
April 16, 2014 - 2:14 PM

VERNON - It could be the biggest network of garage sales the city has ever seen.

Registrations are piling in at City Hall for the inaugural city-wide garage sale, Saturday April 26. Imagine as many as 30 listings organized by category—antiques, books, householdand in your hands, a map of them all. Sounds like fun, right?

Now that we have your attention, the city’s environmental planning assistant is going to tell us why garage sales aren’t just good for our wallets, but for the environment and greater community as well.

“The idea is to give residents an opportunity to keep reusable or re-sellable items out of the landfill,” Jing Niu says. “From interacting with Vernonites, I’ve had people ask me, how can we reduce waste, what are the opportunities, what can we do? So we thought let’s start something new for Vernon that creates a fun vibe in the community.”

We all have an interest in reducing the volume of material that goes into our local landfills. Dale Danallanko, recycling and disposal facilities manager for the North Okanagan Regional District says over 41,000 metric tonnes of garbage was relegated to Armstrong, Vernon and Lumby landfills in 2013. The Vernon landfill alone acquired 29,178 tonnes last year.

It breaks down to approximately half a tonne per North Okanagan resident per year, Danallanko says. Imagine throwing out a heap of stuff weighing half a smart car when you could have sold that stuff and earned some gas money.

At current disposal rates, the Vernon landfill will hit the end of its life span in the year 2034.

“It will likely be quite difficult to site a new facility,” Danallanko says. “It’s in everyone’s best interests to extend the life as much as we possibly can.”

While disposal rates have been on a slight downward trend over the last few years, it may be overly optimistic to assume people are repairing what they have or spending more time DIYing their junk into Pinterest creations; it appears it’s a side effect of the economy.

“When the economy is better, the per capita disposal rate goes up,” Dannalanko says.

Makes sense—the more cash we have, the more likely we are to buy that new TV or couch. But people like Niu are proposing a different philosophy; retail therapy without the bitter aftertaste.

“You do see lots of advertisement out there every day for new items, new cars, new shoes, all of these things,” she says. “Garage sales are a really good opportunity to find something that’s probably of great quality and a great deal. This is guilt-free shopping on so many levels: you’re saving money and you're doing something good for the environment and your community.”

The city-wide garage sale is set for April 26, the first Saturday after Earth Day. The city also has a list of places to take unsold items if you’re hosting a garage sale. You can spruce up old or broken items at the Repair Café or donate them to a variety of initiatives.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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