A new Penticton society has embarked on an ambitious project to reduce landfill waste and employ marginalized and unemployed residents at the same time.
The Okanagan Upcycling Resource Society paid a recent visit to an RDOS board meeting to talk about their plans for the Waste Knot effort.
"Our goal is to divert wood materials from landfill sites," said chair Lise Ecclestone. "RIght now we are looking at Campbell Mountain, then later in the summer we'll look at the Okanagan Falls' landfill. The big vision is to be able to access wood from all landfills in the South Okanagan."
The idea was first discussed a few years ago, when Ecclestone was working as a vocational counselor, along with a fellow named Clayton Truman.
It was Truman who came up with the idea of Waste Knot to create jobs, provide people in the community with affordable lumber and at the same time divert materials from the landfill, which is a huge goal of the RDOS.
The idea was put on the back burner, when Truman passed away, but came back to life about a year ago, said Ecclestone.
"We started it again because there were people in the community interested in upcycling material," she said. "We also wanted to honour Clayton for launching the initiative in 2009."
The idea was well received by the RDOS board at the last meeting and was bounced back to staff to prepare a report for moving forward and to liaison with the group, said deputy corporate officer Christy Malden.
At this point, the society has established a retail site in partnership with the Penticton and District Society for Community Living.
Some materials have been moved to the location on Industrial Avenue, and they are in the process of developing the site.
This week they hope to meet with RDOS staff. The next step will be to access grants and capital that will help get the project off the ground and pay workers from the community living society.
Up to now everyone has been a volunteer.
"This presents an opportunity to reuse waste material, employ people in woodworking and return lumber products to the community," said upcycling member Edward Ecclestone. "It's a win win for everybody."