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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Recycling within community makes great sense

Bronwyn Worthington The Spokesman-Review

Like many mothers, my maternal instincts urge me to cling to my children’s belongings for as long as possible.

However, a family of four cannot live surrounded by towers of Rubbermaid totes forever.

So began my search for a worthwhile method of unloading several years’ worth of clothes and toys. While I hoped to obtain some profit for these treasures, my primary interest lay in recycling for the sake of the environment and the community.

Earlier this fall, I discovered Just Between Friends, a sale held at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center that enables parents to buy and sell quality children’s items. Our community is fortunate to have several stores specializing in this type of merchandise.

However, JBF allows hundreds of families to participate in the consignment business at one event.

I spent the week leading up to the sales event scrubbing out stains on everything from an infant snap shirt to a potty chair.

My husband contributed by printing bar-coded price tags for each item, a process made simple using tools on the JBF Web site.

After bringing the newly renovated items to the fairgrounds, I attended the presale for consigners.

Shoppers abounded, and I quickly acquired a pile of clothes so large that I had to borrow a stroller to wheel my load up front.

As I left the sale, the reality of spending well over $100 sank in. In addition to going over my budget, I was bringing home nearly as many things as I consigned.

Still, I had managed to outsmart the greedy demands of consumerism. I had kept useful resources in the community and out of a landfill. My mission was complete. Well, at least for now. Next year those Rubbermaid totes will hold another load of outgrown clothes. You can bet I’ll be back.

Local JBF owners, Pennie Woods and Kara Twining, give consigners the option of donating unsold items to nonprofit organizations that assist children in need. Last year, the national JBF organization recognized Woods’ and Twining’s strategic efforts to give back to the community, awarding them Franchise of the Year. As a mother-daughter team, these two have set a high standard of innovative marketing for others to follow.

Many other groups in our community support the idea of shopping with conscience. The recent Wardrobes for Women event provided more than $5,000 to Inland Northwest Health Services.

The Spokesman-Review’s community garage sale, “Everybody’s Bazaar,” serves as yet another venue to redistribute used goods. A variety of Web-based organizations such as also have their success marked by the idea that sharing improves the environment as well as the lives of the giver and receiver.

Recycling has come a long way over the years. Gone are the days when we could get away with feeling smug about filling up a bin. Socially responsible living requires fresh ways of thinking about our economy. Whether its time to buy, sell, or donate, let’s keep the future in mind. A little resourcefulness goes a long way.