Guides involved in environmental project

“Cork a bag or bag a cork?”
If you were an Ontario Girl Guide leader at their provincial annual general meeting on Sunday, you had the opportunity to participate in part of their “Bag a Cork” program.
Much earlier that morning, I joined the incoming provincial commissioner (my wife, Marnie), the executive director of Girl Guides of Ontario, and two staff members transferring bags of used wine corks to five-gallon pails at a hotel in the north section of Toronto.
We had lots of laughs filling those pails.
Sunday morning, the Guiders from across Ontario had much more fun sorting the cork. There was a lot of laughter in the hall as a group of young Pathfinders led the adults through the methods of sorting.
Girl Guides of Ontario has adopted this project from the Girl Guides of Australia to recycle wine corks.
The LCBO in Toronto and much of southern Ontario give customers bags to collect their corks in and then bring them back to the stores. The Girl Guides pick them up.
Brownies, Guides, and Rangers sort the corks from the imitation ones and then they are transported to a recycling site in Oakville.
Last year, Guides of Ontario recycled more than one metric tonne of cork. This environmental project will remove one more waste item from Ontario’s landfill sites.
But last Saturday night/Sunday morning, we were off stage kneeling over buckets, tying string around the plastic sheets that were spread over the top of the pails to keep the corks from spilling out should a pail be knocked over at breakfast the next morning.
The pails then were conveniently hidden beneath the tables to await the Guiders later in the morning.
I learned that the cork found in wine bottles is 100 percent recyclable, used for flooring, bulletin boards, soles of shoes, fishing rods, table tennis paddles, coasters and many more products.
Cork for bottles normally is taken after a tree is 43 years old and then regularly every nine years after that. The cork actually is the bark of the cork tree.
It is estimated that 100 million corks are equivalent to 2,500 cubic meters of waste in Ontario are tossed into landfills across the province. On Sunday morning, 50 five-gallon pails of corks were sorted.
The Girl Guides receive the proceeds from the sale of the cork. Guides Ontario are looking to expand the project across Ontario this year.

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