Circular Store

The Guelph Tool Library to launch pop-up Circular Store under the COIL Activate Accelerator

In February of 2023 The Guelph Tool Library opened the GTL Circular Store, which serves as a thrift store and mini recycling centre, supported by the Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad. Our current operating hours are:

  • Monday Closed
  • Tuesday 11-5
  • Wednesday 11-6
  • Thursday 11-5
  • Friday Closed
  • Saturday – 11-4
  • Sunday Closed

We are looking to add more volunteers to increase our hours. At this time, donations for our inventory can be received at the Guelph Tool Library during regular hours, but we are only able to accept items for recycling during Circular Store Hours. Please see our current Wish-List below for more details on what goods we can accept at this time.

Check out these articles on the Circular Store:

Guelph Today

Guelph Mercury Tribune

WHAT CAN I DONATE?

accepted items graphic 1500 × 2000 px 2
Colour coded table of accepted items
What Can I Recycle here

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the GTL Circular Store?

The GTL Circular Store is a pilot project run by the Guelph Tool Library. It will function as a pop-up sliding scale non-profit thrift store and mini recycling hub for typically hard-to-recycle household items.

What is a Circular Store?

We chose to call our store a circular store instead of a thrift store because we wanted to emphasize our commitment to contributing to the circular economy. We are more than just a thrift store. We function more like a mini recycling and repurposing hub. Our focus is on sustainability. Our mission is to help make eco-conscious, sustainable commerce easy, enjoyable, and equitable.

What is the Circular Economy?

The circular economy is a production and consumption model involving sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, recycling, and reselling existing items and materials for as long as possible. Using what already exists help minimize the impact of consumption on our natural resource. In doing so, the circular economy model aims to tackle global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, destruction, and pollution.

It contradicts the linear economy that has been the norm in modern society, in which natural resources become products bought and destined to become waste.

What do you mean by a pilot project?

We refer to it as a pilot project because the Guelph Tool Library has received a grant from Innovation Guelph’s Circular Opportunity Innovation Launchpad (COIL). This grant money allows us to pay for the operation costs of running the GTL Circular store for its initial stages of a start-up to generate enough income from sales of donated items to become self-sustaining. The pop-up will be running until April 2023. Upon reaching this date, we will have enough information to determine if the project is financially able to continue running.

What do you mean by sliding scale?

Part of our intention with the GTL Circular store is to reduce economic barriers that limit people from being able to purchase the items that they need. We recognize that there are barriers that many people in the Guelph community face when it comes to equitable access to goods and services. Our sliding-scale payment method allows customers to decide how much they can afford to pay for the items they wish to purchase.

How will the sliding scale payment work?

Every item in the store will have a price tag that is considered the base price. This base price is the average price regarded as reasonable to charge the customer. We are assuming that the average customer can easily afford to pay this price for the item without sacrificing their basic needs (such as food, shelter, and transportation) in their budget to obtain their items. When it comes time to pay for the items, the customer can select from three price points, the base price, discounted price, and top price. The discounted price is an option for those on a limited budget who face economic hardships. A maximum price is an option for those in an economically comfortable situation who wish to support the GTL Circular store further and want to help support the operating costs to keep the project running. The maximum price is like giving a tip or a small donation to the store when it is time to pay for your item.

Do you need to prove that you are low-income to receive the discounted price?

You do not need to provide any proof of income or evidence of financial need. It is up to the customer to decide the amount of money to pay during their transaction. We do not judge or pressure the customer to choose a higher price. The transaction is confidential and would appear the same to onlookers regardless of which amount you choose to pay.

What stops people from taking advantage of the lower price, even if they are not low-income?

The short answer is Nothing. Because we keep the transactions confidential and judgment-free, we are not responsible for determining who pays what. The reality is that, yes, some people may take advantage of this option. However, the lower price option can help individuals who are lower income become able to find items that can improve their quality of life. Even if people are taking advantage of this option, the bottom line is that people who genuinely need financial assistance will choose this option as well.

How do I decide how much I should be paying?

The best way I have found to answer this question is by this infographic made by the creator of this website http://www.wortsandcunning.com/blog/sliding-scale. They use the three-bottle method illustrated here.