Heartland Beautification Committee honours recycling heroes

A teacher who taught her students to recycle when recycling was a new buzz word

A teacher who taught her students to recycle when recycling was a new buzz word; a business that turns old antifreeze into something new; for these efforts, Carolyn Victor and Don Lynn of Re-Glycol were awarded the 2014 Recycling Excellence Award.

The award, handed out annually by the Heartland Beautification Committee, honours an individual and a business for their effort to reduce, reuse and recycle components of every day personal and business life.

Twenty-five years ago, Victor taught her kindergarten students about recycling. In turn, these students went home and told their parents, creating a cascading effect that helped kick-start the recycling movement in the town and county, Grace Fix, the representative of the committee, told people gathered during the Communities in Bloom dinner on Friday, July 25.

At the time, it wasn’t easy to recycle – it required people to bring materials to Edmonton, Red Deer, Drumheller or Lacombe. Whenever Victor was heading to those communities on business, she would take bags of recycling with her.

She then branched out, bringing her recycling program to Stettler Day Care, helping recycle materials from meal time. Though she no longer works there, she still handles the recycling program at the day care, Fix noted.

Her actions 25 years ago made such an impact on her students, and the parents of those students, that it turned out to be one of those long-ago kindergarten student parents who nominated Victor for the award.

“Carolyn, you have made and are still making a difference,” Fix said. “We are grateful for your efforts to do the right thing, long before it was easy to do. Congratulations on this Recycling Excellence Award.”

Turning old coolant into new coolant for Alberta’s largest city

Rob Lynn said he knew a fellow who was recycling old waste antifreeze into a top-quality glycol product, which can be used either as an antifreeze or heat-transfer fluid. It was quickly apparent to Lynn that there was a market for the product, and he went into business, forming Re-Glycol, alongside Norm Ternes.

By taking the waste antifreeze and creating new products, Lynn and Ternes help keep the liquid out of landfills, ditches, and “who knows where else it may have ended up,” Fix said.

To date, the company has recycled more than a million litres of waste antifreeze, Fix said.

The resulting products are used extensively in the oilfield industry, and is widely distributed around the province for use.

The City of Calgary has chosen to use Re-Glycol products exclusively in its fleet of vehicles and in all city-owned facilities as a heat-transfer fluid, Fix said.

The city nominated the company for an Emerald Award, which recognizes environmental initiatives by Alberta companies.

By recycling waste antifreeze, the company reduces the resources required for new antifreeze and heat transfer products, and prevents the wasteful discarding of perfectly usable product.

Volunteer organization diverts tons of clothes from landfills

The volunteers of Superfluity, a thrift store in downtown Stettler, have been diverting bags of clothing and household products from the landfill for more than three decades.

Formed in 1980, the group takes gently used clothes and household products and sells them in their store, which has changed locations a few times in the 30 years. The store is run by volunteers, and all profits from the location is given back to the community by donations to community groups, projects and organizations.

Superfluity currently sponsors a free weekly swim at the Stettler Recreation Centre, and donate money to help run the Stettler Handibus, the Stettler Food Bank, and have created scholarships at local schools. Money also finds its way to the local seniors’ lodges and the hospital. Overall, 50 different organizations benefit from the recycling going on at Superfluity.

When clothing is too worn to be reused, it’s torn into rags but not before it’s stripped of buttons, which are removed and put onto cards and put up for sale.

Going through the mountains of bags donated weekly, volunteers have found their Stettler location stocked to the roof. Each week, a horse-trailer sized wagon trucks usable items to nearby communities or to community businesses, which make use of the products at womens’ shelters, shelters, Loaves and Fishes in Red Deer, a sports-gear recycling centre that reconditions gear to help underprivileged kids take part in sports, and sees vases and the like given to local florists.

In 2013, Superfluity injected $73,000 into the community – a big number for a location that sells items for a dollar or less on average.

 


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