Salvation Army (Whitehorse)
In many ways, the Salvation Army is an obvious choice as a Zero Hero. After all, their thrift store business in which people donate still-useful items such as clothing, books, furniture and appliances to be sold at relatively cheap prices is one of the most well-known and easy ways of diverting items from the landfill.
However, there is even more to the Salvation Army’s work than that which is visible simply by browsing the store itself. For example, good-quality clothing that does not end up being sold in the store in Whitehorse is baled up and shipped down south, and then passed along to other organizations to distribute, including to other countries. Other items are distributed more locally, such as winter jackets that are given to local shelters and other organizations to hand out, and t-shirts that are cut into rags and sold to other businesses. They also pass along any broken electronics they receive to Mike’s New and Used, who fix and then sell them.
For the workers at Salvation Army, these practices are simply in line with their mission statement to be a ministry for people in need and make items available to as many people as possible. For that reason, they’re always willing to make changes in order to best fit a situation; for example, they brought their clothing baler in 5 years ago because they couldn’t ship out clothes in plastic bags, and now other consignment stores make use of it to bale their clothing as well. Empty cardboard boxes are placed out back for people to pick up at their leisure, while the ones in poor shape are taken in for recycling. “We’re a pretty small operation in the grand scheme of things,” says George, the thrift store manager, “But we do the best we can.”