The RDNO Board of Directors approved funding for three projects through the RDNO's ReTHINK Waste Grant Program. The successful applicants include FoodMesh ($30,000), Habitat for Humanity Okanagan ($16,000), and Silver Star Bear Stewardship Group ($3,500). Funds awarded to these organizations support innovative projects that aim to prevent waste and utilize materials already in circulation to conserve resources and energy.
FoodMesh is working to build a comprehensive food recovery system in the region by connecting organizations looking for alternatives to disposing of their unsalable or surplus food with a network of local charities and farmers. Quality surplus food can support charitable organizations like food banks, and leftover food that is no longer suitable for people to eat can go to farmers for animal feed. FoodMesh started the North Okanagan Food Recovery Network in April 2023 and to date has diverted over 156,000 kilograms of food from disposal. This food recovery has provided over 193,000 meals and has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 400 tonnes. Funding in 2024 is to support growth and maintenance of the North Okanagan Food Recovery Network.
The Habitat for Humanity Restore in Vernon provides residents with opportunities to donate reusable household to keep them out of landfills. This plays a key part in developing a local circular economy by keeping materials in use for as long as possible and providing residents the opportunity to save energy, resources and packaging by purchasing quality second hand items. Grant funding will support an awareness building campaign to encourage residents to ReTHINK how they shop, use and dispose of potentially reusable items.
The Silver Star Bear Stewardship Group continues to develop the Black Bear Education Trail located around Brewer’s Pond. The trail is intended to inspire respectful co-existence with black bears and encourage bear smart practices. The trail features art displays of bears made out of repurposed materials. The 2024 bear installation project includes a bear made out of repurposed steel materials to encourage awareness of the importance of reusing, repurposing and recycling materials to help preserve wildlife habitat.
An average of 500 kilograms of garbage per person ends up in RDNO landfills yearly. Wasted resources negatively impact our environment and are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. The RDNO ReTHINK Waste Grant program supports projects that reduce waste in our region and encourage development of a circular economy. Priority is given to waste reduction projects focused on the first 2 “Rs” – Reduce and Reuse.
If you have an idea for an innovative project that would benefit our region, or want to get tips on how to reduce waste, visit rdno.ca/rethink. Now is a great time to start planning ahead for 2025 projects as the grant program is expected to open for applications in Fall 2024.