Billings Climate Action Committee promotes circular economy with Junk in the Trunk event

From left, Billings Township's Climate Action Committee members Chris Theijsmeijer, Bob Clifford, Paul Darlaston and Bryan Barker.

KAGAWONG—The above-seasonal temperatures and sunny skies brought people to the Kagawong pavilion as early as 9:30 am last Saturday, curious to see what new-to-them goodies could be found.

The Junk in the Trunk event was organized and hosted by Billings Township’s Climate Action Committee (CAC) as part of Waste Reduction Week to promote a circular economy. People brought gently used clothing, books, and other items to give away.

“In our CEEP (Community Energy and Emissions Plan) that we developed, there’s an element to promote the circular economy,” explained Chris Theijsmeijer, a CAC member. “The circular economy is about recycling or reusing material so that you don’t have to buy new.”

Basically, by not buying new you’re helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “There’s obviously more greenhouse gases being used in the production of new materials,” Mr. Theijsmeijer said. “We were just hoping that if something was sitting in someone’s house, it could be put to good use somewhere else rather than someone having to go to a store and buy something new.”

“I really can’t add to that,” said Bryan Barker, Billings Township councillor and CAC chair. He suggested the timing of next year’s event be a little earlier, towards the end of summer when there are more seasonal residents here which might get more people participating. “I’m happy with today’s turnout. It’s been a couple years, with COVID, and it’s always nice to get people into the village and as Chris said, support a circular economy and keep things out of our landfill site.”

Waste reduction targets included in Billings Township’s CEEP include reducing waste by 50 percent below 2018 levels before 2030, and reducing overall consumption by promoting circular economy concepts and increasing waste diversion through recycling rate increases and a home composting program.

The event is good for waste diversion, agreed Mr. Theijsmeijer. “This kind of event is also fun just to have the community together and talk, to catch up with each other before we go inside for winter.”