The Salvation Army (SA), Canada’s largest non-government social services group, have taken their knack for recycling to municipalities across Canada, including Peel Region.

In just seven months, SA thrift store’s Donor Welcome Centres (DWCs) – across four Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) – including a thrift store in Brampton – diverted 1million pounds of reusable goods.

Tonny Colyn, National Product Acquisition Manager, is determined to help the region achieve their 75 per cent waste diversion goal. This is inspired by the success their collaboration has enjoyed in its first year due to the addition of the centres.

Since August, over 16 thousand Peel residents have contributed to the program by donating their unwanted items, and it has not been lost on the region.

“Thank you, Peel residents, for bringing your reusable goods to our Community Recycling Centres. We appreciate you working with us to divert more usable goods from landfill and help us meet the Region’s 75 per cent waste diversion goal,” said Norm Lee, the Region of Peel’s Director of Waste Management.

None of this would have been possible without the partnership with the SA, which came about after the closing of Good Will organization. The region contacted SA, who then bid for their proposal only to establish what is fast becoming a great relationship.

Textile recycling is a priority across the municipalities and starting to get attention in the mainstream media.

“There’s been a lot of attention on landfill and what’s going to landfill and it’s well known that 85% of textiles are currently going to landfill and many of those are very usable for us in the Salvation Army thrift stores for resale and helping those in need,” says Colyn.

The message they are trying to get out to the municipalities and regions is that, in addition to the textiles they accept for reuse in the community or resale in their stores; they also recycle textiles.

“Let us be the decision makers for what is recycled and what can be resold. We can actually recycle all but 1 per cent of textiles that are donated through the Salvation Army thrift store, so if they’re ripped, torn, stained – it doesn’t really matter because we’re able to separate them and segregate them and deem what has value for resale and what has recycling value.

“We actually have other recycling practices that we do with the textiles, including selling them for bail to clothing graters who will further separate them and use them for other sources.

“It’s not a new situation to us because we’ve been recycling for a very long time and also the textile recycling has always been something we’ve been doing as part of our business practices,” explained Colyn.

The overall objective of the SA is to be socially responsible and environmentally good stewards of the earth. Communities are also becoming aware of the potential the SA have to reducing burdens on local landfills.

The Salvation Army Thrift Store Donor Welcome Centres accept accessories, antiques and collectibles, books and media, eye glasses, furniture, gently used clothing, household items, plumbing fixtures, power equipment, shoes, small appliances, sports equipment, tools, shop equipment, and toys.

For a community needs list and to learn more about The Salvation Army Thrift Store visit, www.thirftstore.ca.