Can one conversation have an impact? I’ve spent the summer touring Ontario, speaking with people from different communities, and countries, and have grown inspired by the potential to spark change – it all starts with a new idea.
Flashback to five years ago, I was keen to make a positive difference for this planet and joined the Ontario Tire Stewardship Summer Tour to educate Ontarians about tire safety, maintenance and how to recycle tires (more on my experience here). Inspired by this tour, I jumped at the chance to join OTS again for the 2017 RethinkTires Road To 100 Million Tour.
I hit the road to help change perceptions around tire recycling and to thank Ontarians for doing their part to divert over 100 million tires from landfills through Ontario Tire Stewardship’s initiatives. Beyond education, this year was focused on conversation sparked by ideas – the recycling initiatives and products that OTS has brought to life. These ideas show the change that can happen when we each do our part for the environment.
Here’s how we planted ideas that can grow globally:
London TD Sunfest to Uganda: A young scientist from Uganda, visiting Western University to research chemistry, was drawn to the home and landscaping products on display and was impressed when he learned they were in fact, made of recycled tires. As I explained the recycling process in Ontario – from the 7,000 collector locations to the various manufacturers and products created – his eyes grew wider and wider. He felt Uganda could learn from Ontario and that a similar program in Uganda would not only help recycle tires but create jobs too. This new idea sparked a dream; one day, he hopes to start a similar program in Uganda.
Honda Indy Race in Toronto to Australia: An Australian racing enthusiast did a double take when he spotted roofing shakes made from recycled rubber displayed in our booth. When he learned that these products, mulch, landscaping tiles and pavers were all made from recycled tires, he was shocked, amazed and curious how tires were recycled back home. He took a RethinkTires.ca jar opener to remind himself to keep doing his part for the environment.
Canada Day in Ottawa to India: While the country celebrated our 150th, I had the chance to speak with many international families, including one from my native country, India. Speaking in Hindi, I shared the tire recycling practices here in Ontario and we brainstormed how a similar program could be set up in India. In turn, it sparked my interest into researching how (and if) India recycles used tires.
The common thread here? Everyone left the OTS booth feeling a bit more optimistic, hopeful and motivated to make a difference in their own backyard.
Environmental protection and the healing of this planet must be a collective process. Through the RethinkTires Summer Tour, I feel like we’re not only contributing to the province, but also the planet – one conversation at a time. So without further ado, onwards to the .
Hope to see you there for a chat!