Gabriola Island Recycling Organization seeks $103,000 in grant money from the Regional District of Nanaimo for a textile recovery program. (Black Press files)

Gabriola Island Recycling Organization seeks $103,000 in grant money from the Regional District of Nanaimo for a textile recovery program. (Black Press files)

RDN looks at providing $103,000 for clothing recycling on Gabriola Island

Recycling organization on Gabriola hopes to divert 23,600 kilograms of textile waste from landfill

Gabriola Island Recycling Organization hopes to put used clothing in the spin cycle and contribute to a circular economy if granted $100,000-plus from the Regional District of Nanaimo.

With the region looking to provide $300,000 in grants for zero waste recycling initiatives, RDN’s solid waste management select committee is recommending the Gabriola non-profit receive $103,000 to start a textile recovery and clothing recycling program. In a plan submitted to the RDN, the organization estimates the 10-year, three-phased project could see a yearly decrease of about 23,600 kilograms of cloth waste at the landfill. It also projects about $118,000 in revenue after the first year.

Michelle MacEwen, GIRO general manager, told the News Bulletin that the non-profit sees 25 per cent of restore sales from used clothing. It sells about 50 per cent of clothing received and about 454 kilograms a week in donations can’t be used as it is “stained, dirty, ripped, torn, damaged, over-used, worn out,” she said.

Unusable clothing had been collected by Diabetes Canada, but that was halted due to COVID-19, which “sparked” the idea, MacEwen said. The first phase, scheduled for January until June, would see purchase of a washer and dryer, sewing machine, staff hires and business analysis with expenses estimated at $31,000.

“The initial Phase 1 would be short-term or quick fixes for items that are dirty, wrinkled, stained. Just having a washer and dryer on premises could deal with a percentage of that waste,” said MacEwen. “Then for the clothing that’s in good condition, but just won’t sell because … it’s not fashionable or whatever, but it’s still material in good condition, that’s where we decided that we would need more of a design team to come up with how to re-purpose that clothing; upcycle it rather than downcycle.”

The organization would look to purchase a shredder during the second phase, scheduled for June to December, to break down fibre into smaller pieces, which could be used for items such as cushions or footstools, according to MacEwen. Expenses are estimated at $162,500.

The primary goal of a third phase, planned for January 2022 to December 2024, “would be to create business spaces that could receive textile discard waste from all thrift and consignment stores in the district of Nanaimo,” in addition to landfills in southern and northern parts of the region, according to an RDN staff report.

MacEwen said money is also being sought from Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The $300,000 was originally slated for Nanaimo Recycling Exchange, but with the non-profit shuttering its Kenworth Road site, the RDN decided to offer the money for “innovative programs that increase diversion through the development of a circular economy,” according to the report. Nanaimo Recycling Exchange could still see some money, as the committee is recommending approval of about $49,000 for it to conduct waste audits and educational initiatives.

Amounts of $95,000 for Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, for a new warehouse facility, and about $53,000 for Habitat for Humanity, to offset a lease of a new space for one year and hire staff for an upcycle repair program, are also being recommended.

The regional district is aiming to divert 90 per cent of waste from its landfill and Ben Geselbracht, RDN director and committee chairman, says the proposed projects will assist with that.

“This is incentive and program support money for local innovation around a circular economy and that’s sort of the big umbrella,” Geselbracht told the News Bulletin.

The recommendations are expected to go before RDN directors at their Jan. 26 board meeting.

RELATED: Loaves and Fishes food bank seeks bigger warehouse

RELATED: RDN seeks 90 per cent diversion with management plan

READ ALSO: Gabriola students challenged to go plastic-free



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

Nanaimo Regional DistrictRecycling

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Men’s Centre in Nanaimo, with help of volunteers and with the support of local businesses and other donors, was able to complete a renovation project at the Fitzwilliam Street office. (Photos submitted)
Renovations raise spirits at Nanaimo’s men’s centre

Non-profit organization thanks volunteers and donors

A conceptual drawing of ‘complete streets’ work on Front Street in downtown Nanaimo. (McElhanney image)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bike lanes help cyclists enjoy a safer commute

Bicycles aren’t taking up more than their share of the road, says letter writer

AstraZeneca vaccine is becoming available at B.C. pharmacies outside the Lower Mainland, as of Friday, April 9. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Frank Augstein
Immunization program expands to five Nanaimo pharmacies

Residents 55-65-year-old can get their first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine

Nanaimo RCMP are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man suspected of being involved in a stabbing. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo RCMP trying to identify stabbing suspect who wielded rusty knife

Stabbing followed argument between two men at Port Place Shopping Centre April 1

A 3.0-magnitude earthquake occurred off Ucluelet just after 12:30 a.m. on April 10 and was reportedly felt as far south as Oregon. (Map via United States Geological Survey)
Quake off Ucluelet reportedly felt as far south as Oregon

Magnitude 1.5 earthquake also reported off Vancouver Island’s west coast hours earlier

First responders were on scene of a motor vehicle incident and confrontation on Wallace Street in Nanaimo the morning of April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Youth arrested after car crash in Nanaimo

Ford pickup sustained rear driver’s-side damage in crash near Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

The inside of the Campbell River Community Centre gymnasium has been marked off in order to facilitate the public flowing through the clinic as they receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell river Mirror
Leftover vaccines go into arms, not down the drain: Island Health

Immunization plan comes with built-in options for any unused vaccines at the end of the day

A man was arrested after getting angry because Nanaimo RCMP would not return a shovel he had allegedly been swinging around. (File photo)
Man arrested after objecting to Nanaimo RCMP confiscating shovel he had been swinging around

Police say it was in the public interest not to return the tool to allegedly impaired suspect

Don Bonner, RDN board director, left, Tyler Brown, RDN board chairperson, and Sean De Pol, RDN director of water and wastewater services, at a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre April 6. (Shawn Wagar photo)
Nanaimo’s $82-million pollution control centre upgrade now complete

Wastewater treatment enhanced at RDN’s Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

Most Read