LAWRENCETOWN, N.S. - By the time local residents get their New Year’s Eve empties bagged up, Carleton Road Bottle Exchange in Lawrencetown will be ready to accept them, sort them, and pay cash.
The latest social enterprise, offered by the outfit that helps some of the most vulnerable to be included in the community, opens Jan. 8 in Middleton and a day later in Lawrencetown.
“There’s a number of small social enterprises that we do, and I guess our vision is the community inclusion piece of that,” said Carleton Road Industry Association’s MacKenzie Akin. “For us to be able to get our clients into the community can sometimes be hard, so it’s easier for us to make our own social enterprise and bring the public to us.”
When Akin heard the Middleton bottle exchange was closing and Divert Nova Scotia was looking for a new company to take its place, he knew it was the perfect fit for CRIA.
While Divert NS would have liked to keep the operation in Middleton, CRIA offered a solution that worked. It will set up a mobile collection centre once a week in Middleton and the rest of the week folks can drop off their empties to their 447 Main St. location in Lawrencetown via the Prince Street entrance.
To make the Middleton mobile location work, CRIA bought a cube van which will be set up near the Independent store and behind Pizza Factory on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. They’ll haul the bottles and cans back to Lawrencetown to be sorted.
People wanting to drop off their bottles, cans and juice boxes will be able to drive right up to the doors from 11 Prince St. in Lawrencetown. That entrance is across Prince Street from Lawrencetown’s village office. Other recyclables will still go to Envro Depots in Lequille and Greenwood.
“Those locations take your electronics, the garages take your tires – we’re not involved in any of that. That’s another piece of the puzzle,” said Akin.
He said people can take other items to Valley Waste Resource in Lawrencetown, including paint. “It’s not something I wanted our clients to be handling anyway because that’s a hazardous waste.”
When people take their bottles back to the new CRIA location, they will also be helping people feel more a part of society.
“Carleton Road Industries is all about providing a way of life and training for our clients who are mentally, physically, intellectually challenged, and inclusion into the community,” Akin said. “So by getting this contract we’re going to be able to switch out several of the clients in the positions of staff – recycling, doing accounting, doing sorting, dealing with the public – which is going to create a wage for probably six of them, part time.”
Carleton Road’s own staff who oversees the various social enterprises will be working with the clients in the bottle exchange.
“They have to deal with the community that come in, they have to have the training on the cash register, so it should be a great thing for us and the clients,” said Akin.
This is not CRIA’s only venture.
“Currently Carleton Road operates a small gas station here which our clients are trained in – there’s a few that are … paid a wage,” he said. “There’s a few that work in our post office that are paid a wage, as well as at our thrift store over across the street which we just opened a year ago and has been a great success.”
But that’s not all their 46 clients are involved in running.
“We have our woodworking department which has been here for a number of years and very, very busy. And we have our property maintenance which is extremely busy throughout times of the year when it would be appropriate, which employs several of our clients as well,” he said. “We also do the weekly sales flyers deliveries. There are about 800 homes that we go to. And kindling is another big thing that we do. We probably (sell) seven or eight thousand bags a year.”
While 46 is the client total at the moment, the client base is always growing. The association provides spots for people from as far as Kingston/Greenwood in the east and as far as Bear River in the west.
Akin said community response has always been great.
“Anything from Christmas cards, to great gestures, to helping our clients out if we run into a little issue – maybe they’re working at the cash register and they get overwhelmed because there’s two or three people in the lineup,” he said. “People are really good about waiting, having patience with us while our clients are learning. I suspect it will be much the same with this program.”
Hours of Operation
Tuesdays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Middleton
Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Lawrencetown
Thursdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Lawrencetown
Fridays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Lawrencetown
Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Lawrencetown