Gleaners participating in Think Recycle program

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It’s a time-honoured tradition with a twist! Along with the usual fundraising activities at Gleaners, there is a new and profitable way to make money that benefits the environment, as well. Gleaners is tackling the growing problem of electronic waste and literally turning it into cash.

Gleaners is participating in the Think Recycle program, which gathers unwanted cellphones, inkjets, toner cartridges and digital cameras from the community and exchanges them for money. Greentec, the company behind Think Recycle, then processes and recycles the products, diverting the electronic waste from entering local landfill sites.

“Our usual fundraising activities are great, but the Think Recycle program directly protects the environment,” said George Goulder. “This way, we can stop filling up our landfills with electronic waste and fundraise 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 a landfill. The Think Recycle program has been responsible for the diversion of more than one million cartridges from landfills and has provided nearly $3 million in funding to its participants. More than 20,000 schools in North America participate in Think Recycle, said Greentec president Tony Perotta.

In addition to giving money for unwanted cellphones, inkjets, toner cartridges and digital cameras, Think Recycle donates money to have one tree planted, through America Forests or Tree Canada, for every 24 qualifying products collected by Gleaners. Think Recycle has paid for the planting of more than 50,000 trees, effectively removing 8,700 tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

“With Think Recycle, not only are you helping Gleaners raise money for the community, but you get to directly protect the environment and do a good thing,” said Goulder.

The public can drop off unwanted cellphones, inkjets, toner cartridges and digital cameras at Gleaners Too or by contacting Goulder at 250-435-0060.

— CRESTON VALLEY GLEANERS SOCIETY