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Emterra donates to BC’s Comox Valley thanks to community's recycling efforts

On hand to celebrate the funding of a new TheraGlide chair for The Views, St. Joseph’s Residential Care facility, are (from left) Emterra North Island Operations Manager, Dave Ross; Mayor of Cumberland, Leslie Baird; Mayor of Comox, Paul Ives; Hospital Foundation Executive Director, Lynn Dashkewytch; Manager of The View Residential Care, Michael Aitken; and Emterra Environmental VP of Operations for BC, Ed Walsh.

(Victoria BC, August 4, 2016) Thanks to Emterra Environmental, when you recycle in the Comox Valley, you also help improve local healthcare. Emterra is the company that provides recycling, yard waste and garbage collection for residents in the area.

Through its Community Care program, Make Your Contribution at the Curb, (MYCATC), Emterra donates $1 to the Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation (formerly St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation) for every tonne residents recycle each year. The money is used to purchase new medical and hospital equipment.

In 2015, residents in the Comox Valley recycled 2,543 tonnes, which has resulted in a donation this week of $2,543 from Emterra Environmental to the Healthcare Foundation. Since 2009, Emterra has donated more than $12,500 towards new equipment for St. Joseph’s Hospital.

“The contribution made over the years by Comox Valley residents to our recycling initiatives has been tremendous and the growth has been fantastic,” said Ed Walsh, Emterra Environmental’s vice-president of operations for B.C.

“The recycling rates here are as strong as Victoria, which has had a program for over 20 years,” he said. “It’s such an easy way to increase funding to the foundation; the more you recycle, the more Emterra donates.”

Emterra approached Courtenay and Comox councils nearly 10 years ago to start a curbside recycling program in the Comox Valley, which evolved into the blue box program seen today. Because the community was basically starting its recycling program from scratch, Walsh saw an opportunity to give back to the Comox Valley through recycling.

His reasons were personal.

“I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma 15 years ago and went through eight months of chemo,” he said. “I wanted this fundraising initiative to be hospital-related because I was really well looked after in Victoria, and I appreciated that.

“Because of that, local hospitals are near and dear to my heart, so I said, ‘Let’s see what we can do in this community’.”

This year, the $2,543 donated by Emterra is going towards the purchase of two TheraGlide chairs for The Views, St. Joseph’s residential care facility. These chairs will increase the comfort and quality of life for frail and elderly residents living in The Views.

When the new Comox Valley Hospital opens, the chairs will stay at the St. Joseph’s site, which will continue operating residential and hospice care.

“Many residents have mobility issues and spend their day in a chair or their bed,” said Lynn Dashkewytch, executive director of Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation.

“Having specialty beds and chairs that provide features to enhance comfort and safety is so important. We are so thankful for Emterra’s  generous donation again this year, and we are grateful that Emterra shares our vision to help support and enhance quality of life for the residents at St. Joseph’s.”

The Comox Valley is currently the only community in B.C. that participates in MYCATC and gives back through its recycling.

Walsh says that feedback from residents has been very positive, and when people find out how far their recycling goes in the Valley, they want to do more.

“I encourage residents to put their recycling more,” Walsh said. “Not only is it good for the environment by saving space at the landfill and reducing greenhouse gases, it also allows us to purchase equipment at St. Joseph’s hospital, so it’s a multiple win situation.

“One tonne of recycling does so much more than you think.”

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