The Blue Mountains, January 26, 2022 — Bottles for BVO, a program from Beaver Valley Outreach that collects empty wine, liquor, and beer bottles and cans in the community to raise money for its programs and services, recently celebrated a milestone. In 2021, the organization diverted 165,000 bottles and cans from the landfill, collecting a record $23,482.00.
The program owes its success to BVO volunteers, the The Blue Mountains landfill site, and the community at large. In 2017, Thornbury resident Jean-Marc Page, in conjunction with the Town, set up a container at the landfill to collect and pick up empties. “I would go to there once every three weeks to pick them up,” says Jean-Marc. “In 2018, I started to keep track of the how much money we were raising as a community for BVO: $2,400.00. In 2019 we jumped to $15,000.00, as the community became more aware of this program.”
Bottles for BVO really took off during COVID-19. “When the pandemic began, we started to see a real jump in returns,” Jean-Marc explains. “In 2020, we did $20,000.00. Once we added a couple of drop off points, including Applejack, Far Hills, and BVO, and included Thornbury Cidery and Roost Winery, we raised $23,482.00.” In addition to drop-offs, people call Jean-Marc to pick up bottles at their homes, or they will drop off bottles at his house. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Bottles for BVO has raised over $40,000.00 for BVO programs and services. When BVO was in lockdown, the program was still able to function (as long as the Town landfill was open), collecting much-needed income to “keep the lights on”.
What started as a one-person operation (Jean-Marc) has now expanded to six volunteers and back-up personnel. Two volunteers are needed each day to manage the large amount of dropped-off donated bottles and cans. Pickups are now three days a week: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. As of January 2022, Jean-Marc will be stepping back from the physical parts of the job, overseeing the program by connecting with the volunteer team and keeping financial records of moneys received.
“Since the beginning of Bottles for BVO, I have enjoyed meeting new people, developing friendships with volunteers, and making a difference in your community. And spending time outside has been a nice bonus!” says Jean-Marc. “I would like to thank all the volunteers that I’ve worked with, as well as the people in this amazing community who continue to donate their empties at the landfill and our drop-off sites.”
“Thanks also to the people who donated our signature apple bins – especially Ryan Gibbons, who arranged the bin at BVO through a local farmer, and Jeff Higginson at Bayridge Orchards in Meaford, as well as the Events for Life participants who labelled and painted one of our bins. And, last but not least, a big shout-out to the Meaford Beer
Store, who has been so great in accommodating us every time we bring in hundreds of bottles and cans. This has been a wonderful community effort!”
“BVO thanks Jean-Marc Page for spearheading Bottles for BVO and helping to make it the successful program it is today,” says BVO Volunteer Coordinator Julie Traversa. “Without his continued effort and commitment, we would not have achieved such amazing results. The program has been a silver lining throughout the pandemic, and even before. And thanks to everyone for helping us continue ‘making good things happen in our community’ by donating their empties.”
How You Can Help Bottles for BVO
The most time-consuming part of the program is sorting all the donated bottles and cans before taking them to the Meaford Beer Store.
- Wine, Liquor & Beer Bottles: Please sort by dark, green and clear glass.
Deposit all sorted bottles (in boxes or loose -not bagged) in the Bottles bin.
- Beer Cans: Place in bags with number of cans marked on the outside.
- The program is now accepting Plastic Milk Jugs and Millers Milk Glass Bottles: These are taken back to Circle K and Foodland in Thornbury for a
- Volunteer as a driver or sorter. Please contact Julie at [email protected]
BVO will be looking into improving the Bottles for BVO program this spring by setting up more drop-off sites. We will keep the community posted. Look for our signature Bottles for BVO drop-off apple bins. If you would like to volunteer for Bottles for BVO or any other BVO program, please contact Julie at [email protected]. To learn more about Beaver Valley Outreach, visit bvo.ca.