Clothesline supports people living with diabetes, reduces waste

The Canadian Diabetes Association’s (CDA’s) Clothesline program is performing “double duty” on the University of Victoria campus.

It is helping the CDA raise funds for diabetes research, advocacy, education and programs, while supporting the university’s goal to increase its landfill diversion rate to 75 per cent.

“Our vision is to be a zero-waste institution, and we are always looking for opportunities to keep more waste away from landfill,” says Nadia Ariff, the university’s coordinator of waste reduction. “I noticed that on residence move-out day every spring, a lot of clothing was being thrown out and I wanted to change that – but we didn’t have the resources to sort through it all.”

After spotting a red Clothesline donation box in her neighbourhood, Ms. Ariff connected with the CDA and learned that the program would provide, maintain and empty the boxes free of charge.

“It was a brilliant solution for our challenge. In 2010, two clothing bins were installed in the family housing complex and two at the regular student residences. We’ve promoted it widely and usage is increasing every year,” she says.

The amount of donated clothing doubled between 2012 and 2014. In April 2014 alone, 2,400 kilograms of clothing were collected from the four drop boxes. “We’re supporting a good cause and achieving our sustainability goals – a great win for both partners,” Ms. Ariff says.

Clothesline is a CDA success story across Canada. Since its launch in 1985, the program has steadily expanded and now has 30 offices from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador (with the exception of Quebec), as well as 2,570 red clothing donation boxes in Canadian communities.

The program collects more than 46 million kilograms of clothing, household and electronic items each year, with the proceeds directly supporting the CDA’s many activities to advance diabetes treatment and management. The CDA also recognizes the environmental benefits – noting that annually, Clothesline saves 840 million kilowatt hours of energy and reduces donors’ carbon footprint by 115 million kilograms of CO2 emissions.

The clothing boxes are just one of the methods for collecting donations. People can also call the toll-free Clothesline number (1-800-505-5525) or go online (www.diabetes.ca/clothesline) to schedule a free pickup of clothing and household items at their home.

Jennifer Shaw of Goderich, Ont., has certainly been a devoted supporter of Clothesline home pickup; she has donated to the program 80 times since 2003.

“It started for me as a way to contribute to the fight against a serious disease that is becoming more prevalent – while also handling all the clothing, shoes and toys that my four children were quickly outgrowing over the years,” she says.

It worked out so well that Ms. Shaw began to make Clothesline a regular part of her household management routine.

“As soon as they collect my donation, I call the toll-free line to get the next pickup date in my area and start filling my next box for pickup. The CDA has made it so convenient to donate – with just a phone call and a box, I can support an important cause,” she says.

“Clothesline also allows people who want to support a charity – but don’t have the financial means – to contribute without out-of-pocket expenses,” she adds. 

  Clothesline saves 840 million kilowatt hours of energy and reduces donors’ carbon footprint by 115 million kilograms of CO2 emissions each year.   SUPPLIED 

Clothesline saves 840 million kilowatt hours of energy and reduces donors’ carbon footprint by 115 million kilograms of CO2 emissions each year. SUPPLIED 

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To donate to Clothesline or for more information, visit www.diabetes.ca/clothesline.