By Jess Blackwell and Julia Hernández Malagón
1. What the WRG is and what we do
The WRG is a highly active non-profit group operating in downtown Toronto, and our events and other initiatives focus on raising environmental awareness and reducing waste in our local communities.
To this end, we host a triennial event called REmarket, which encourages community members to rethink their consumption and disposal habits while promoting a circular, equitable, accessible economy in which all individuals are empowered.
At this event, we collect post-consumer items for donation, run a totally free market (called FreeMarket), repair common household items and bikes (with the help of organizations such as Repair Cafe Toronto and CultureLink Bike Hub), raise awareness about waste reduction and other environmental concerns, and collect difficult-to-recycle items.
We also run initiatives such as St. Lawrence Reduces, which encourages local businesses to join the bring-your-own (BYO) container movement, and our cigarette-waste-recycling program in partnership with Terracycle.
2. Our team
We currently have around 30 volunteer team members, each with different roles and interests.
Because we do not receive any formal funding to support our operations, we rely entirely on the skills and generosity of our ever-growing team of volunteers.
We are proud of the diversity, passion, and unique skills our team offers, and we are always looking for new recruits to join our team and help us make Toronto a better, more sustainable place to live.
3. The benefits of volunteering with us
Lead a more sustainable lifestyle and help others do the same
Whether you are already leading a sustainable lifestyle and want to get more involved, or are just getting started and want to learn more about sustainable practices, the WRG is a great place for you.
The group is made up of a friendly, fun, diverse group of people united by a common mission: reducing waste in our local communities.
Widen your social network
Volunteering with the WRG is a great opportunity to make meaningful connections, share ideas, and exchange information about events and interesting activities. The diversity of the group helps generate different perspectives and points of view.
For those who are new to Canada, it can be a great way to get more involved in the community.
Upskill and try new things
For example, are you interested in practicing your writing skills? Your graphic design skills? Volunteering is a great opportunity to upskill or develop new skills, as well as try new things that might help you in your professional or personal journey.
The WRG offers a wide variety of positions depending on your interests and skills, and many of our members have been able to widen their professional networks as a result of working with us.
4. The volunteer positions and opportunities we offer
So what does it mean to be a volunteer with the WRG, and how can I get involved?
We offer a variety of volunteer opportunities, including the following positions:
General volunteer: Contribute to as many of our initiatives as you would like to by actively participating in our Zoom meetings, voting process, and individual initiatives.
In-person REmarket volunteer: Contribute to the success of our REmarket event by helping us greet guests, accept and sort donations, run the FreeMarket, manage the recycling table, and take photos and videos of the event.
Marketing team volunteer: Contribute to our marketing efforts by helping us create Instagram content, design online posts, design print posters and others ads, write blog articles, or manage our social media channels.
St. Lawrence Reduces volunteer: Canvas local businesses to encourage them to join the BYO movement and make their operations more sustainable.
On average, our volunteers spend no more than 1–2 hours per week on their volunteer activities, although some of our team members generously donate more of their time as they are able to.
Members vs. Contributors
To maximize the flexibility we offer our volunteers, the WRG distinguishes between volunteer members and volunteer contributors.
Members are required to join the group’s electronic mailing list, consistently and actively participate in the group’s Zoom meetings, and contribute to initiatives in whatever way(s) they can. In exchange, members have the right to vote on important group issues.
Contributors do not have the same general responsibilities as members and usually contribute to initiatives in very specific ways, such as by designing Instagram posts or writing blog articles. However, contributors do not have the right to vote on important group issues.
New team members are able to get involved with us in whichever capacity they prefer, and we strive to be as flexible as possible!
5. What it's like volunteering with us
Volunteering with the WRG is a flexible commitment in terms of time and tasks. Most tasks can be done online, and the group only arranges meetings approximately once a month.
In the group meetings, the group discusses its different initiatives, community feedback, potential opportunities for improvement, and future activities. On occasion, the group invites other organizations that might want to partner with the WRG or that share mutual goals or interests.
These meetings are especially interesting, because you can learn a lot from the practices and initiatives of other organizations while sharing ideas with other people on the team.
The best parts of volunteering can be different for everyone, but we find that seeing the impact of our actions is incredibly motivating. For example, it is inspiring to see the acceptance and usefulness of the work being done at REmarket and to experience how your skills can be put to good use and improved.
6. Ready to get involved?
Volunteering with the WRG is a great opportunity to serve your community and help reduce waste. Contributing feels good, and it can also be beneficial for your personal and professional development, such as by helping you widen your social network, hone your skills, or gain new skills.
Think this is the right volunteer opportunity for you? Email email@example.com for more information.
This article was edited by Lumida Editing & Proofreading.
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This is where you can find more in-depth information on how to reduce waste in our local communities and live more sustainably.
Community info below is related to the SLNA itself and not the WRG committee.