Last month, for the first time in a decade, electricity use in B.C. went up instead of down during the World Wildlife Fund’s Earth Hour.
Participation in the campaign, which encourages people around the world to turn off their lights to help raise awareness about climate change, has been declining for five years.
But with Earth Day now just around the corner, The Salvation Army in the Central Okanagan is reminding people about the importance of looking out for the planet.
“It’s the responsibilities of everyone to take care of the Earth,” says the Salvation Army’s Donna Thibideau. “It should be the mandate of every organization because taking care of the Earth is just another way of taking care of people.”
That is why Thibideau says the Salvation Army has been recycling for more than 100 years, which is primarily seen through its thrift store operations.
“We strive to look for ways to repurpose things to keep them out of the landfill,” Thibideau says.
That, combined with promotions that give customers discounts on their purchase if they bring their own bag, have helped the organization’s thrift stores repurpose a ton of waste.
According to Marion Boef, the Donation Welcome Centre manager, the organization kept 311.3 tonnes of textiles, shoes, and purses from the dump in 2017 alone—in addition to selling 489,929 products.
Boef adds that, at the warehouse, they “try everything we can to keep as much as possible out of the garbage.”
Boef says that, through careful sorting of donated goods, staff takes constant steps to ensure any and all unsalable items get diverted to recycling initiatives.
Right now they recycle all kinds of items, including clothing, shoes, accessories, books, cardboard, metals, plastic bags, plastic, electronics, and many others.
Planet Earth Recycling, in partnership with the Central Okanagan Salvation Army, says it collected 195 metric tonnes of recyclables in 2017. In 2011, it also received the City of Kelowna Mayor’s Environmental Achievement Award for the group most dedicated to protecting the environment.
But for Thibideau, the Salvation Army’s recycling is about more than just protecting the environment: it’s about protecting people, too.
“It’s not just about recycling, it’s about how the sale of those donated items allows us to provide support for those in need in our community,” says Thibideau.
Not only are we helping to keep those items out of the landfill, the proceeds from the sale of those items support our community. We also provide clothing and household items free of charge to those in need,” she adds.
Thibideau says the Salvation Army is able to offer food support, life skills training, emergency disaster services, and other community supports “all because people donated to, and shopped at a Salvation Army thrift store,” where 100 per cent of proceeds support local program.
By helping the planet, she says, her organization is able to help people throughout the community.
She welcomed anyone interested in contributing to their cause to donate at their donation welcome centre, located at 2330 Hunter Rd., or visit one of their thrift stores and buy something.
More information about the Salvation Army in the Central Okanagan is available online.
This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Okanagan Edge.
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