Mel Springall, a volunteer for Habitat For Humanity Vancouver Island North, has helped to expand and refine the Comox Valley ReStore’s metal recycling program.
“It is a process that is constantly being adjusted to ensure less material goes to the landfill and more money is generated for the Habitat home builds,” Springall said. “The people who bring the material to the ReStore rather than the dump are the ones looking out for the environment.”
Since 2010, the metal recycling program, locally and in Campbell River, has raised more than $500,000 — enough money to build four Habitat homes — and diverted about five million pounds of metal from the landfill.
“There are many organizations and people doing great things for the environment in the Valley, and I am flattered to be considered in this group,” Springall said. “I have met and worked with many people from school students to senior citizens. We all appreciate the chance to work together to help the community. I am fortunate to have worked with them.”
Springall retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in 2005, and started volunteering with Habitat the following year.
“I was drawn to it because it is a good cause, but also because it provides a service to the community through the ReStore and reuses/recycles material.”
Several times a week, Springall works to ensure staff and volunteers at the Comox Valley ReStore are doing what’s needed to maximize money raised through metal recycling efforts. This has meant creating processes for identifying and sorting metals, and instigating training programs through a partnership with ABC Recycling in Campbell River.
Springall also raises money for the Girl Guides by collecting pop cans that can be returned to the bottle depot for cash. This started as a favour to his neighbour who was a Girl Guide leader.
“I mentioned what I was doing to the Habitat workers and they immediately spread the word. Everyone’s generous support has helped the local Courtenay group supplement their income, allowing them to visit such places as the Vancouver Aquarium, Science World and the Victoria Museum.”