It’s a time honoured tradition with a twist. Along with the usual fundraising activities at the United Way, there is a new and exciting way to raise money that benefits the environment as well. United Way is tackling the growing problem of electronic waste and literally turning it into cash.
United Way of the Central and South Okanagan/Similkameen is participating in the Think Recycle program, which gathers unwanted electronics, including cell phones, print cartridges, digital cameras, laptops, iPods and MP3 players from the community and exchanges them for money. Greentec, the company behind Think Recycle, then collects, processes and recycles the electronics, diverting the electronic waste from our landfills.
“Our usual annual campaign is fantastic, but the Think Recycle program directly protects the environment and is a great additional program to further assist our fundraising efforts for our community” says Jennifer Park, Director of Resource Development. This way we can stop filling up our land fills with electronic waste and fundraise to further assist people in our community at the same time.”
Over 300 million empty printer cartridges are generated in North America every year, or 900 million pounds of waste that can potentially end up in our landfills. In addition, 500 million cell phones are retired each year and only 10% are properly recycled. The average home has 3-4 unused cell phones sitting in storage.
In addition to giving money to the United Way for unwanted consumer electronics, Greentec also donates funds to have one tree planted by Tree Canada for every 24 qualifying electronics that United Way returns. The Think Recycle program has paid for the planting of more than 50,000 trees effectively removing 8700 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere.
“With Think Recycle, not only are you helping the United Way raise money for our 25 Community Partners in the Central Okanagan, but you get to directly protect the environment” says Jennifer Park.
The public can drop off unwanted consumer electronics at various locations in the Central Okanagan including the United Way office at #202-1456 St. Paul Street. In addition, we welcome any local companies to also be a drop off point for electronics or to participate in our annual campaign by joining in the collection.
Change starts here, because people can help the environment and support 25 local charities with one easy action.
Be sure to follow United Way CSO on Twitter (@unitedwaycso) and like us on Facebook for all of the updates on this exciting new program as well as check out our website at www.unitedwaycso.com.