Charities in Sun Peaks know that asking for donations to cover their operating costs, especially in such a small community, is tough. That’s one reason Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks (ASSP) and Sun Peaks Education Society (SPES) teamed up to offer a bottle return service on the mountain.
The charities purchased a shipping container at the end of 2013, which they opened as a bottle recycling station. Lorne Street Bottle Depot has worked with the groups throughout the winter to pick up and recycle the bottles. In less than four months the yield has earned ASSP and SPES over $2,000 each.
“The donation funds have helped us achieve our goal of working towards a consistent and sustainable operating budget,” says Jodi Roberts of the ASSP. “Since many of our donations have specific targets, the refundables allow us to cover expenses in areas not targeted.”
The depot has also taken a burden off community members, like Dan and Terra Stebner, who had been doing much of the bottle collection over the last several years. From Travis Abbey’s point of view, it’s been a success.
“I’m personally astounded at the volume of items we see on a weekly basis; all material that could otherwise end up in the landfill,” says Abbey, who liaises between the charities and Lorne Street. “We just need to strive for continual improvement to make it as convenient and functional as possible so it continues to be successful.”
With a boost to the charities’ coffers, they’re looking forward to being able to move toward their future programs with greater confidence. The SPES continues to fundraise to meet the operational and capital costs of running the Discovery Centre for Balanced Education, the distributed learning centre for the community’s high school students.
“We really appreciate the support of the community and guests in filling up our bin,” says Barb Kupferschmidt Linder, president of the SPES. “Fundraising is always a challenge, but this really helps us to provide for the students in our facility.”
The Sun Peaks Charity Bottle Depot will be open throughout the summer, but closed on Tuesdays and Fridays in synchronicity with the Transfer Station.
“(We still need to) get the folks to put their items actually in the bins versus just at the door, then we’d be one step closer to a self-managed operation,” says Abbey. “One tweaking we need moving forward is more signage to reflect the fact that the site is a ‘bottle depot’ not a ‘recycling depot’ as we still see people putting cardboard, glass jars and other ‘blue bag’ items in the facility.”