Waste Reduction Week: Textile Tuesday

Diabetes Canada - Partnering to improve your textile diversion

Diabetes Canada is the registered national charity that is making the invisible epidemic of diabetes visible and urgent. Eleven million Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes. Every three minutes, another Canadian is diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes Canada’s textile and small household items collection program has been reducing waste and promoting re-use for 30+ years – providing Diabetes Canada with $10 million annually. Every year, they:

  • divert 100 million lbs from landfills
  • save 1 billion kWh of electricity
  • reduce 280 million kilograms from our carbon footprint

As the oldest and largest charitable recycling program, Diabetes Canada offers unique advantages, such as:

  • Scheduling home pickups by calling 1-800-505-5525 or booking online at declutter.diabetes.ca
  • 3,000 donation boxes located across Canada where people drop off gently used clothing and cloth items at any time
  • The In the Bag program that helps schools, clubs and groups hold clothing collection drives with revenue shared between them and Diabetes Canada

Looking to the future, Diabetes Canada has partnered with York University on a Textile Diversion Research Study. The goal is to identify best practices to increase the recovery of textiles. A key component is to identify factors that motivate households to participate in such programs. The output will be educational materials that more effectively motivate giving by schools, residents in multi-residential buildings and ethnic households.

To find out more and potentially participate in the study, contact Simon Langer, National Government Relations Lead, Diabetes Canada, 905.751.6889 or simon.langer@diabetesclothesline.ca


Goodwill’s Edmonton Impact Centre - Working Towards Zero Waste

The Impact Centre is Goodwill’s (a non-profit) first outlet thrift store in Alberta, as well as the first thrift store that sells donated goods by the pound. Items in the donation cycle that did not sell are brought into the warehouse where they are carefully sorted and recycled to minimize what goes to landfill. John Gebbie, Chief Operating Officer for Goodwill Industries of Alberta, said; “we are working to convert the Impact Centre to a Sustainability Hub. Even though it’s called the Impact Centre, because it’s already making an impact in the community, we want to get to that next level of sustainability throughout the organization.

Goodwill Impact Centre

Goodwill Impact Centre

The idea behind the outlet store is to give customers one last chance to reuse and purchase items that did not sell in Edmonton stores. The products are sold by the pound. Customers load their carts, place them on a scale and pay for their selections. The site also produces cleaning cloths packages from cotton t-shirts and towels that didn’t sell in the thrift stores after a four-week rotation. Employees cut the towels and T-shirts into cleaning cloths and sort them into 4 roll packages.

Sonja Fjeldstorm, Goodwill Employee, Prepares Cleaning Cloths

Sonja Fjeldstorm, Goodwill Employee, Prepares Cleaning Cloths

The Impact Centre is reducing the amount of landfill waste and Goodwill’s carbon footprint by encouraging reuse, selling products at a low price, consolidating operations in one location, and providing the space needed for recycling operations. Gebbie said; “through the outlet store itself in the first 9 months of operation, we diverted 405 thousand pounds, which is about $395,000.” About 89.6 cents of every dollar generated through the sales of donated items at Goodwill directly supports Goodwill’s mission of providing job opportunities and career training for Albertans with disabilities.

One of the main goals of the Impact Centre was to provide Goodwill with a large and proper storage facility to store off-season donations, with the needed space to efficiently sort and separate the recyclable commodities. Gebbie said; “we have several recyclers in the Capital Region that are taking our paper and cardboard products. Depending on what the product is, it will go to a recycler locally, and then we have our aftermarket recyclers. We have a preferred list of aftermarket recyclers, so we have anybody who is going to take our products do a business case on what they are going to do with the product.”  

Randy Clavejo, store manager showing one-ton bales

Randy Clavejo, store manager showing one-ton bales

According to Gebbie, the Impact Centre has improved Goodwill’s diversion from 75% to about 80%. “The additional recycling that we have been able to do in the first nine months has moved our diversion percentage about 5%.” Goodwill’s vision is to be zero waste by 2021. Gebbie said; “the vision forward is we want to be a state of the art facility, well known in the Goodwill sector; we want to have our community engagement center full; we would like to have some furniture refurbishment going on; and work with other charities and not-for-profits in the capital area, and be a main distribution point… we are working to convert the Impact Centre to a Sustainability Hub – that’s the real key to it.”

To find out more, contact John Gebbie, Chief Operating Officer for Goodwill Industries of Alberta, at 780.944.1414 ext. 81071 or jgebbie@goodwill.ab.ca