The North Point Douglas Seniors Association runs many programs for local seniors, including providing innovative services such as SWEEP as part of their Food-on-Wheels program which delivers food to shut-in seniors.
Until March 2012 the food was delivered in cardboard boxes, but volunteers were concerned that the boxes went into the garbage and ended up in landfill. North Point Douglas has a particularly low recycling rate and it was even harder for seniors with mobility problems to move a blue box out to the curb for pick up.
An Innovative Solution
The group came up with an innovative solution. They launched SWEEP — the Seniors Waste Elimination Encouragement Program. Instead of delivering food in cardboard boxes, the volunteers now deliver it in sturdy weatherproof recycling boxes with lids. The boxes were purchased with a Sustainable Community Grant from Assiniboine.
During the week, each recipient uses the blue box to collect all of their recyclable household materials. The following week, when the volunteers make their next food delivery in a second blue box, they pick up the box of recyclables and return it to Barber House. There, more volunteers sort through the materials. Batteries and electronics are diverted to their own electronics recycling depot, perished fruit and vegetables are composted, and remaining recyclable materials are deposited in city recycling carts.
“SWEEP encourages recycling while providing nutritious food for seniors,” says Volunteer Co-ordinator Rick Caslake. “We appreciate Assiniboine’s support to launch the program.”
Adapted from asterisk June 2012 print version.