“The Alberta Recycling Management Authority and 4-H Alberta have an enduring partnership that is continuing to deliver benefits throughout the region,” says Ed Gugenheimer, Chief Executive Office of the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA). “Working together, we have supported hundreds of club activities using resources generated through recycling.” The Rural Cleanup Program first began in 2002, targeting old tire mounds on farmland. Five years later, it was expanded to include electronics from locals, surrounding businesses and schools.
“The initiative is win-win,” says Kurt Kinnear, 4-H Alberta’s Chief Executive Officer. “It gives property owners the opportunity to declutter and safely dispose of items that are no longer needed while 4-H Clubs benefit from receiving the proceeds generated by the items collected. At the same time, we teach our members the valuable lesson of taking care of our communities and the environment which is an important component of the 4-H Alberta program.”
Throughout the year, clubs are contacted by landowners who are looking to donate. Depending on their size, tires can bring in $1.00 to $7.00 per item. The value of electronic collections also varies with larger monitors earning $10.00 per unit and smaller screens under 30 inches, printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines and computer servers fetching $4.00 each. Laptops, notebooks and tablets earn $1.00 per unit.
“Since the start of the program, we’ve diverted more than 1,160,000 tires and 72,800 electronics,” says Gugenheimer. “These items are then delivered to registered collection sites for recycling while the funds go back to the clubs to cover expenses for achievement days, award nights, membership fees, and other great activities.”
The work is truly a collective achievement and both parties understand the value of the collaboration. In 2019, 4-H Alberta chose ARMA as their Partner of the Year.
“We recognize the synergy between our organizations,” adds Kurt Kinnear. “Not only are we able to work together to support our clubs and communities, but we are also able to realize broader environmental benefits through recycling.”