Here's to one year of glorious upcycling!
The Concordia University Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR) has spent the last year collecting and diverting material otherwise headed for the landfill.
This month, the organization is celebrating its first anniversary — and making plans for the future.
The on-campus organization collects everything from tools and office supplies to glass and metal, then makes these materials available to the public, free of charge. The goal is to reduce Concordia’s footprint and promote reuse along the way.
Founder Anna Timm-Bottos says the CUCCR project has vastly exceeded expectations. "When we first opened in March 2017, we weren’t sure about the impact we’d have, what types of materials would be donated or if it would be useful to the community," she adds.
Today the centre has more than 1,200 members. So far, it has helped divert 6.3 tonnes of material from Concordia’s waste stream, saving the community an estimated $65,000.
To celebrate this accomplishment, CUCCR will be hosting an art show birthday party at the VAV gallery on Thursday, March 22, between 6 and 9 p.m. The show will feature the work of seven students who have been in residence for two months, working with reused materials.
There is much more in the works for the future. “We’ve received numerous contributions from our community, including a $75,000 grant from Recyc-Québec, and $225,000 from the Concordia Student Union (CSU),” Timm-Bottos says.
The money received will go towards annual operations for five years, renovations for the proposed space and programming expansion.
“CUCCR 2.0 will be a larger, multi-functional place,” says Timm-Bottos, “including additional depot space, an art hive, a permanent material transformation space and a reuse retail boutique.”
Currently CUCCR is located in a warm and cozy 800-square-foot storage cage on the zero-level of the Henry F. Hall Building (H-07.13). It features a depot space, a large work table, a registration station and a check-out system.
“Our goal is to reach a broader audience on campus and engage all departments and academic faculties in changing the culture of reuse,” says Timm-Bottos.
CUCCR 2.0 will incorporate a new initiative called Sustainable Hands-on Education and Design (SHED), being developed by CUCCR partner Harry Heighington.
“The main goal of SHED is to link hands-on skills with tool literacy and elements of sustainability, approaching creative reuse as a tool to combat traditional consumerism,” says Heighington.
Heighington is currently working on a SHED zine to share past and future workshops, as well as other creative projects. The plan is to host pop-up shops that will sell affordable, upcycled furniture and student crafts.
CUCCR Turns One
CUCCR was originally funded by the Big Hairy Ideas competition, hosted by the Concordia Council on Student Life (CCSL), with additional funding from the Sustainability Action Fund, and support from Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) and Facilities Management.
According to Timm-Bottos, it’s been a busy first year. “We’ve been building connections in every corner of the university and expanding our collaboration beyond our initial partnerships,” she says.
Most recently CUCCR partnered with Concordia’s Sustainability Ambassador Program to encourage students living in residence to make sustainable choices throughout the year and as they prepare to move out.
With annual reclaim-a-thons to collect usable materials from the community, and numerous DIY workshops bringing the community together to upcycle, CUCCR has garnered a lot of attention. Keep your eyes open for CUCCR 2.0!