AMHERST, N.S. – When Anne March and Joanne Hopper arrived at the Mobius Awards for Environmental Excellence last week, they were not sure if they belonged.
Then they listened to the address from keynote speaker Adam Minter.
The author of Junkyard Planet was speaking about the different methods of recycling he has seen in his travels, and mentioned specifically seeing the Chinese stripping copper from the wires of Christmas lights.
“He couldn’t figure out why the Chinese were buying these big boxes of Christmas tree lights,” said March, executive director at the Bridge Adult Service Centre. “Well, we’ve been doing that for a long time here… it wasn’t until he gave his talk that we thought, yeah, we do all that stuff.”
They do all that and much more at the centre, which explains why they were awarded with the Institution of the Year award at the event, which was held at the Halifax Harbourfront Marriott.
Neither women realized how big the event would be. Seven awards were handed out, with other recipients including the Truro Veterinary Hospital, Marine Atlantic Inc., and the Halifax Tool Library.
“It was pretty awesome… I really wasn’t aware it was that huge,” said Hopper, the assistant executive director. “But listening to the speaker made me think, wow, we really are doing it all. Because we do it everyday and don’t think of it.”
Recycling indeed takes place everyday at the Bridge Adult Service Centre, where donated items are sold in the adjoining thrift shop. Wool blankets are cut up and sold in pieces for rug hookers. Stained T-shirts are cut into rags and sold to local garages. Old record albums are molded into ornamental flowers.
These activities and many more keep a lot of material out of the local landfill, according to March, who said this does not just happen at the Amherst facility, but at 29 other facilities around the province under the Directions Nova Scotia umbrella.
Many of the recycling ideas come from crafty employees, and get shared throughout the network, she explained.
“We have to raise 50 per cent of our operating budget, so we do some of the things a lot of those poor countries are doing,” she said. “It’s been happening for years because we’re multitasking on several fronts. We want to make money, and we want something that’s going to keep our clients busy.”
The award is made from Nova Scotia crystal, and will be on display in the centre whenever they decide on an appropriate spot.
The Mobius Awards of Environmental Excellence recognize Nova Scotians who go above and beyond to protect our environment.