Media story

Give your home a green spring cleaning

Reduce waste and embrace the circular economy model by finding new uses for things you might normally throw away.

Environment | April 11, 2024

Spring cleaning is not only a way to refresh your home after a long winter, but it’s also an excellent chance to help the environment. In Canada, this yearly tradition allows people to deep clean their homes to get rid of any dust, dirt and clutter after the long winter months. However, it’s also a great opportunity to reduce waste by embracing the circular economy model of waste less and reuse more. What is usually thrown away might have other uses or could be given to someone else to use.

Box with clothing and text donate and woman sorting her clothing. Wardrobe cleaning, donating clothes.

In Canada, spring cleaning usually takes place between March and May. It typically includes deep cleaning floors, bathrooms, kitchen and bedrooms. It may also involve decluttering and organizing closets, drawers and other storage spaces.

Take actions to reduce spring cleaning waste

Get involved by embracing the circular economy model and keeping things out of the landfill. With a bit of creativity, almost anything in your home can be repurposed, refurbished or reused in a practical way.

In the kitchen

  • Use what you have in the fridge before buying more food. You can find creative food recipes from the library.
  • Consider repurposing food jars, containers or bottles. Empty baby food jars can be used to store small items like buttons or beads. Empty jars can be cleaned out and used to store tools, used as a makeshift piggy bank, as vases for flowers or for growing veggies like green onions or can be used to store spices. Plastic food containers for yogurt or margarine can be also used to store leftovers.
  • Swap out disposable items like paper towels for washable dish cloths.
  • Use reusable containers instead of plastic wrap.
  • Keep food scraps and look for alternative ways to use them. You can turn it into a stock or start composting to create nutrient-rich soil.
  • Empty egg cartons can be used to start seedlings for gardening or as a paint palette for art projects.

In bedrooms

  • Consider donating old or unwanted furniture that you aren’t using any more. You can also sell these items online to make a few extra dollars.
  • Repurpose furniture in a different room for a new purpose. For example, you can turn a chest of drawers into a cabinet for dishes in the kitchen.
  • Donate clothing, boardgames and other items to local charities or thrift stores.
  • Donate books, video games, DVDs to your local library.
  • Refurbish older electronics like cellphones, monitors or TV’s to businesses who can restore them or send for recycling as they contain valuable resources like metals and glass that can be repurposed.
  • Newspapers can be used as a liner for trash cans or to wrap fragile items for storage or in the garden mixed with soil to help with weed control and to retain moisture.
  • Picture frames can be repurposed as a jewellry holder.
  • Old calendars can be framed and used as wall art or to make a notebook cover.

In the bathroom

  • Reuse glass jars from old candles to store cotton balls, cotton swabs or other bathroom supplies.
  • Repurpose old shower curtains as drop cloths for messy projects or as a barrier for painting.
  • Refill soap dispensers with bulk soap or a homemade cleaning solution.
  • Donate hair-styling tools to a second-hand shop or to the local school to be used for classes.
  • Use empty toilet paper rolls as seed starters for gardening.

In the laundry room

  • Turn old clothes into rags.
  • Repurpose laundry hampers as storage solutions for toys, sports equipment, or other items.
  • Reuse your dryer sheets as dust cloths for cleaning or they can be placed in drawers or closets to keep clothes smelling fresh.
  • Repurpose clothespins to clip up to-do lists on the fridge with a magnet, photos or other items on a wire or string.
  • Luggage can be repurposed as a storage trunk or to make a pet bed.

In the garage

  • Use old shelves, storage bins and containers to create a storage system that will help you keep your garage organized and clutter free.
  • Wooden crates can be stacked to create a unique and functional storage solution in your garage.
  • Use old jars and containers for storing small items like screws, nails, bolts and other hardware.
  • Use old furniture like bookshelves to create space for tools, garden equipment or other items.
  • Turn old tires into garden planters.
  • Repurpose old doors into workbenches, tables or for other wood-working projects.

You can also reduce waste by making conscious decisions when food shopping. Choosing products with minimal packaging, avoid single-use plastics, buying in bulk, and selecting durable items that can be used for a long time can all help reduce waste.

Mississauga is leading the way in embracing the circular economy and reducing waste. The City’s Climate Change Action Plan includes a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.

By reducing waste and embracing the circular economy, you can help keep things out of the landfills and contribute to a more sustainable future. By making conscious decisions when shopping and employing sustainable practices in our homes, we can all make a positive impact on the environment beyond just the spring cleaning season.

Practise the circular economy model during Earth Days

Earth Day is Monday, April 22. The City is recognizing and celebrating Earth Days through a series of events throughout April. By participating in activities, you can learn about sustainable practices, reduce your carbon footprint and work towards a healthier, greener future.

  • Help reduce waste by donating unwanted clothing and electronics by dropping them off from Monday, April 15 to Monday, April 29 at select community centres in Mississauga.

Clothing donation box

Use Project Neutral’s carbon footprint calculator to understand your climate impact and ways you can take action.

Want to learn how you can get involved with the City’s climate change initiatives? Follow @saugaparksrec on Instagram for more information.


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