Blog

Member update: September 2015

This past month, we reached a critical milestone: The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change issued their Renewable Energy Approval to ZooShare!  In addition to this, we made good progress in resolving the challenges related to securing our feedstock; And learned about the discounts that potential equipment suppliers can offer us.

Feedstock

As we stated last month, a meeting with our grocery partner revealed the path forward to resolving the remaining challenges and getting the contract done.  Over the last 4 weeks, we have been working on determining how many of the waste management companies operating in this market have the ability and willingness to pick-up organics from our partner, remove contaminants and drop off the material at our biogas plant.  Early conversations have been positive and we are working up an Expression of Interest for potential suppliers to sign in order to further support our research and give confidence to our partner.  We plan to have as many of these signed as possible in preparation for a September meeting with our partner.

In addition, we continue discussions with other waste producers and waste management companies, ensuring that ZooShare is able to get the supply it needs for the best possible price.

Bond Sales

Since we began taking names and pledges for a waiting list, we have 121 individuals and total pledges of between $561,000 and $762,000.    If you would like to get on our official waiting list, please fill out the form here (make sure to check the “Yes, I am already registered as a ZooShare member” box).

We are currently reviewing and revising the Offering Statement with the intention of renewing it, and at this point, if we decide to sell more bonds, it looks like they will be available in September or October.  Stay tuned for more information on this.

Renewable Energy Approval (REA)

We received the final version of the REA on August 28th.

Digestate (fertilizer) sale/disposal

This past month, we continued to work through the details and terms of our final agreement with Prongineer Ltd regarding the processing of liquid digestate and look forward to getting that done.

Biogas equipment and financing

Over the last 4 weeks, we began to reach out to the different companies that responded to our preliminary request for quotes to ask if they were able to provide further discounts in exchange for marketing profile, and if they had financing packages to offer.  Some have responded already and we are waiting for the others to get back to us, but from our early conversations, the response has been positive and in line with our needs.  We look forward to making decisions in this area in the next 4-8 weeks now that the REA is in hand.

Blog: Teach your kids about Biogas!

Would you like your kids or grand-kids to learn about ZooShare in the classroom? Now’s your chance!

We have co-created a workshop with TREC Education that teaches students about the science of biogas and the value of organic waste…It’s called “Digest This!”. We would love if you could spread the word and tell the teachers in your life about it. Scroll down for details.

Click here to see or print the “Digest This!” brochure.

IMG_20141107_133424 Above: TREC Education’s Program Coordinator Abasi Sanders teaches children in Grade 2 about biogas.

In the workshop, students use common household materials to create “a stomach” to learn how our bodies are like biogas digesters. They learn how organic waste is a form of renewable energy, and how biogas technology can reduce our impact on the environment.

IMG_20141107_145353 Above: This experiment, using household ingredients, teaches children about the breakdown of waste and the concept of collecting greenhouse gases.

The workshop was developed for the Grade 7 curriculum, but can be adapted for all grades.

“We received an email from the spouse of a ZooShare member whose child was in Grade 2,” says Kelly Park, Events and Communications Manager for TREC Education. “She was excited to teach her child about ZooShare, so we adapted the workshop for a younger audience,” she says, “And they’re smarter than you think!”

One of the great things about TREC Education is that their workshops are affordable for teachers — as a charity, TREC Education receives grants, sponsorships and donations to help offer workshops at affordable rates. The first “Digest This!” workshop is only $175 and additional workshops are $135. If you’re feeling generous, you can even sponsor a workshop.

Click here to download the “Digest This!” flyer and pass it along to the teachers in your life, or email Kelly to ask how you can get the “Digest This!” workshop in your child’s classroom.

IMG_20141107_134756 Above: Students learn about the different types of biogas plants around the world.

Member update: August 2015

This past month, we made excellent progress in getting the REA and establishing the business case for selling Poo from the Zoo brand fertilizer.  The challenges around securing feedstock remain, however, discussions internally and with our grocery store partners have been engaging and productive, making us confident a deal can get done in the coming months.

Feedstock

Over the last four weeks, we have continued to research and understand the market for organics as well as the constraints of our grocery partners.  This learning lead to ZooShare putting together what we feel is a very strong proposal to supply our biogas plant for the long term, under a flexible pricing mechanism. We had a productive meeting with our partners, where more of the complexities of the relationships involved were discussed, and we can now see a path to getting the contract done.  Our grocery partner remains engaged in our project and in resolving the challenges that have to date stopped us from signing the second feedstock contract, which we are very pleased about.

In addition, we continue discussions with other waste producers and waste management companies, ensuring that ZooShare is able to get the supply it needs for the best possible price.

Bond Sales

Since we began taking names and pledges for a waiting list, we have 108 individuals and total pledges of between $525,000 and $728,000.  If you would like to get on our official waiting list, please fill out the form here (make sure to check the “Yes, I am already registered as a ZooShare member” box).

We are currently reviewing and revising the Offering Statement with the intention of renewing it, and at this point, if we decide to sell more bonds, it looks like they will be available in September or October.  Stay tuned for more information on this.

Renewable Energy Approval (REA)

We were successful in resolving all remaining issues related to stormwater management and the approval process is in the final stages now.  The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is currently preparing a conditions sheet, which will be sent to ZooShare for approval, before the official approval is issued.  At this point, we are about 2-3 weeks away from receiving the REA, which is excellent news.

Digestate (fertilizer) sale/disposal

After working out the revenue sharing agreement last month regarding the fertilizer to be produced from the liquid digestate, this month we worked on figuring out the practical details and steps required to maximize potential revenues from selling solid digestate, or “Poo from the Zoo”.  After speaking to multiple zoos selling composted manure to the public, and some colleagues in the composting industry, we determined the best way for ZooShare to monetize solid digestate is to sell it in bulk directly to consumers from our site.  The details continue to be worked out, but it is looking like we will offer customers the ability to buy Poo from the Zoo by the truckload or by the bag, probably all done during April/May each year.  We will not be purchasing a bagging line and putting the product in garden centres as was the original intention, instead people who want to buy bags will be given a shovel and empty bags to fill up.

Blog: “Who Is ZooShare?” Part 2

A couple of months ago, we sent our members a gruelling 75 question survey. Amazingly…Gratefully, we received over 100 responses! Before this, we only knew the most basic information about our members–age, gender and location (which you can read about in Part 1 of this blog post). Our survey included a large variety of questions that explored other demographic data, as well as our members’ values, lifestyle and priorities. After an intensive study of the survey data, it became clear that although there are several life-stage differences between generations (marital status, kids etc), most ZooShare members share similar experiences, values and lifestyles. Scroll down to see the top 7 things we have in common:

1. A University Education

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If you are a typical ZooShare member, you are most likely university-educated (three quarters of the membership hold a BA or higher).

2. A love of Learning

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Your love of learning doesn’t fade after graduation, in fact, when asked what activities ZooShare members do the most during their leisure time, “Self education and reading” ranked above “spending time with friends and family”! You especially enjoy reading about topics concerning environmental conservation, science, technology, and travel (and if you are a Baby Boomer, you are really interested in reading up on health and wellness). Some ZooShare members love learning so much, they made a career out of it: 16% of ZooShare members work or worked in Education, Training or Library careers (one of the most common professions among our members).

3. Being Outside

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Whether it’s hiking, walking, camping or gardening, you love connecting with nature.  You also love to share this connection: 37% of ZooShare members have planted or tend to a community garden, and over 40% have attended a park clean-up.

4. Environment > $

money vs plantYour connection with nature is strong and the environment is a top priority for you. You are very willing–even extremely willing–to change your lifestyle to benefit the environment. You believe that reducing greenhouse gases is more important than improving the economy (58% of ZooShare members) so you shop green (94% of members) and passionately donate your time or money to Environmental causes (68% of ZooShare members) and species conservation (34%).

5. Political

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But shopping green and donating your time and/or money to help the environment isn’t enough! You believe in the power of being politically active: You vote for leaders who share your values, and at some point you have attended a political rally (58%) or spoken in front of City Hall (33%).  You are also likely to be left-leaning (53% of members identify as “left” on the political spectrum, followed by 28% of those who identify as “centre”, 15% who don’t identify and 3% who identify as “right”).

6. Supporters of Divestment

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Speaking of being political, you probably know about and support the Divestment Movement (70% of the ZooShare members do; 20% don’t know or aren’t sure about it; and 8% do not support it). The Divestment Movement encourages institutional investors to remove their financial support from the fossil fuel industry. Click here to learn more.

7. Supporters of local initiatives

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You may be in the 60% of ZooShare members who often find themselves in situations where their perspective is different from their peers (because of their age/language/culture/background/education etc). For this reason, it is important to surround yourself with a group that shares similar beliefs. You can’t save the planet alone! 77% of ZooShare members have attended a neighbourhood event, 35% are part of an informal community group, and 28% have advocated for a local cause. You are also a part of ZooShare: Most members feel like they are part of a ZooShare community…And 40% of members believe that when people get involved in trying to solve environmental problems, they “make things better most of the time”, if not “all of the time” (8%). 77% of ZooShare members own a ZooShare bond, investing an average of $6,974 (a median of $4,357).

Member update: July 2015

Our focus continues to be the same as last month – we are working daily on getting the Renewable Energy Approval and feedstock contract completed as they are essential to our success and we are eager to get started on building the plant.  We have also been investing time and energy into learning more about the fertilizer market so that we can maximize revenues from all possible sources.

Feedstock

When we started this project, we had an agreement that our partner was to supply 14,000 tonnes of waste to us each year. During the fundraising phase, 4,000 tonnes of waste was contracted from corporate stores. We continue to work with our grocery partners on the contract for the remaining 10,000 tonnes. The primary issue contributing to the delay is price – not the availability of waste supply.  At the current time, the commercial organic waste market is constantly evolving – making it difficult for us or our partners to comfortably forecast the value of disposing organic waste. We have now come to the conclusion that we would only be able to sign a long-term supply agreement (our goal) with Loblaws (or any other grocer/waste management company) if there was no fixed price.

We are working on a proposal that would include a formula for a flexible fee, that would fluctuate with the market each year, therefore remaining competitive. We are positive this will yield the desired outcome but are speaking to multiple waste producers and haulers to ensure we have a clear understanding of the market and some alternative options if we are forced to go that route.

Co-op Development & AGM

We hosted the 2015 ZooShare Annual General Meeting on June 11/15 at 401 Richmond St West. The meeting was well attended with 50 members there, all of whom cast votes in the Board elections. It was a good AGM with productive discussions regarding the challenges we still face. All members came at it from a place of trying to gain a deeper understanding of the issues. We elected 3 new directors to the ZooShare Board – Chris Benedetti, Peter Roles and Angela Wallace. Tom Ferencevic is returning for another 2 year term.

After conducting a member/investor survey, which closed in early June, we have been working on a report that ultimately will summarize the key learnings about our membership and the motivations of our target market, should we decide to market and sell additional bonds in the future. (Click here to read a high-level summary of our findings in this month’s Member Spotlight.)

We were also sad to say goodbye to Blair Coutu, who’s contract with ZooShare ended this month.  Blair was a valuable member of our team and played a big role in closing our bond sales as he stepped up to be our Investor Relations Coordinator last September.  We look forward to seeing him accomplish more great things as his career develops.

Bond Sales

Since we began taking names and pledges for a waiting list, we have 102 individuals and total pledges of between $408,000 and $609,000.  If you would like to get on our official waiting list, please fill out the form here (make sure to check the “Yes, I am already registered as a ZooShare member” box). We don’t know for sure if or when we will sell more bonds but the chances are good – stay tuned for more information on this.

Renewable Energy Approval (REA)

Our consultants and technical sub-consultants have been working to address the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC)’s concerns about stormwater management. The primary thing they are looking for are additional details on what features we are planning to use to manage stormwater and which guidelines the design adheres to.  We had a very productive meeting with MOECC staff about their specific information needs and concerns last week. This meeting clarified what we need to submit in order to receive our REA. Our consultants will submit these items on our behalf in the next week, and we look forward to getting approval in the coming weeks.  This process has taken longer than we expected, but we are confident it is nearing an end.

Digestate (fertilizer) sale/disposal

We have also been hard at work at building a business case for selling fertilizer (liquid and solid) to help us better understand if and how we can generate sufficient revenues from this activity to support the project.

We finalized the Memorandum of Understanding with Prongineer to process liquid digestate.  The projected revenues from selling the fertilizer products the Prongineer equipment will produce are ~$40,000 per year for the first 6 years, increasing to ~$200,000 per year from that point forward.  This equipment will essentially separate the water from the valuable nutrients in the liquid digestate and allow ZooShare to sell these without needing to transport water around (which is costly).

The recent work is all about maximizing the value we can extract from the solid digestate. Initially we had intended to sell it wholesale for ~$20 per tonne.  From what we’ve learned so far, we can make much more than this by selling directly to consumers through multiple channels. We are looking into purchasing bagging equipment and how we could get “Poo from the Zoo” brand fertilizer in front of consumers (The names “Zoo Poo”, “Zoo Doo” and “Zoo Manoo” are already taken. Got a good name? Let us know!) . If we’re able to sell a bag of solid digestate for a price comparable to cow manure (~$4/bag), potential revenues from this activity could be as much as $500,000. Our initial research has told us we can sell it for a higher price than this, but we are fully investigating the costs associated with this plan and figuring out a way of pre-selling some of the first year’s output to help prove our case to lenders and ourselves.  It is also possible that we further process the solid digestate into a higher value fertilizer product, which can be sold for a much higher price, but would require additional equipment.  At the current time however, this is secondary to proving out the minimum potential revenues from selling bags of Zoo poo.

Member Update: June 2015

Our focus hasn’t shifted much since April – we are working daily on getting the Renewable Energy Approval and feedstock contract completed as they are essential to our success and we are eager to get started on building the plant.

Co-op Development & AGM

In addition to preparing for the AGM, Blair and Frances have put a lot of time and effort into a document we are calling the “Orientation Manual”, a document that lists important lessons and work processes developed over the last 18 months. The Orientation Manual is important for ZooShare’s long term success, as we could use it for future bond campaigns here and in other locations. In addition, we received 110 responses (so far) to our hefty member-survey, which closes on June 5th. The survey will give us a much deeper idea of who you are–our current supporters. This information will be invaluable if or when we decide to raise additional financing from the community.

Bond Sales

After closing bond sales in March, our waiting list is now 92 names long and has at least $392,000 pledged.  If you would like to get on our official waiting list, please fill out the form here. We don’t know for sure if or when we will sell more bonds but the chances are good – stay tuned for more information on this.

Renewable Energy Approval (REA)

Our consultants and technical sub-consultants have been working to address the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC)’s concerns about stormwater management. The primary thing they are looking for are additional details on what features we are planning to use to manage stormwater and which guidelines the design adheres to. There was some miscommunication about what they needed to see, and we have now begun the revisions they are looking for. A meeting will be held in the next 2 weeks with MOECC staff to answer any remaining questions.

Feedstock

As you may recall, at the outset of the project, ZooShare secured a Letter of Intent for the full supply of organic waste (14,000 tonnes) with Canada’s largest grocery retailer. Following this, we executed a contract for the first 4,000 tonnes in June 2013 for waste to be supplied from stores equipped with on-site mills (to liquify the waste at the store).  We have been working with our partners on the second contract (for the remaining 10,000 tonnes) as it needs to come from a different part of the company since not all stores are equipped with the mills.

As mentioned last month, we continue to work with our grocery partners and their waste management companies to sort out the logistics and pricing of a deal that satisfies all parties.  We have also been speaking to other potential suppliers to gain a better understanding of the make-up and value of the alternative options.  Our primary goal continues to be signing a deal with our existing partners, and we are hopeful to getting it done in the coming weeks.

Digestate (fertilizer) sale/disposal

We came to a revenue sharing agreement in principle with the company that will process our liquid digestate over the month and are looking to close the deal in the next month if possible.  We also put an agreement in front of the nearby farmer for his review and feedback and expect to get it done in a similar time frame.

Regarding the solid digestate (Poo from the Zoo brand fertilizer), we are working to quantify and prove how much this product could be worth if sold directly by ZooShare to customers, as this approach would generate greater profits compared to selling it wholesale to our grocery partners as we originally planned.

Events

Given our reduced need to put ourselves out there and sell bonds, event attendance have been scaled back in the recent weeks.  In May, we participated in the Kids’ World of Energy Fesitval, put on by our friends at TREC Education at the Evergreen Brickworks.  Over the course of the 4 day festival, about 2,500 kids (of all ages) learned about the intricacies of different types of renewable power production (including biogas) and the importance of conservation.

Zoo-biogas is heating up!

After reaching out to 10 different US-based zoos with an introductory email, we had deeper conversations with zoos in Honolulu, LA, Washington DC and Buffalo about their constraints and needs.  Thus far, physical space seems to be the biggest constraint as most zoos are located in urban parklands without any space to expand zoo operations.  We are continuing to speak to them about alternative, smaller scale approaches to biogas and have submitted a proposal to one of the zoos already. More info will become available as this pursuit progresses.

Blog: Member Spotlight: “Who is ZooShare?”

ZooShare is comprised of 3 staff, 7 Board members, and most importantly, over 450 Ontarians from across the province who are a part of our co-operative. Our membership stretches beyond Temagami to the North, Sarnia to the West, and Ottawa to the East. Our membership is concentrated in the city of Toronto.

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Most of ZooShare’s members were born in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, but there is also a large number of members born in the 1980s. Baby boomers comprise the largest demographic, followed closely by the next generation, Gen X, then the “Millennials”, Gen Y.

If you’re wondering why people born in the ’90s or 2000s (Generation Z) are investing, it’s because they were gifted a bond by their parents or grandparents.Our youngest member is 9 months old. (Technically most of these “members” are only bond-holders, members must be 18+ to vote at our AGMs).

Finally, we have a small but passionate group of the Silent Generation (Why so quiet?). Happy Birthday to our oldest member, who is turning 83 this month!

ZooShare-Membership-Age-RangeGeneration-Pie-Chart

In terms of the gender split, the numbers are very close! The ladies “take the lead” by 1%. We will be following up this blog post with a member-only survey to help us learn more about you, our members. Stay Tuned!

gender-breakdown

Member Update: May 2015

Last month we continued to prepare for construction of our biogas plant – clarifying remaining questions and concerns related to permits; working through the logistics of organic waste supplies; solidifying our fertilizer plans; and articulating our specific requirements to be included in the construction contract.

Co-op Development & AGM

At the end of the first quarter we began planning for the 2015 ZooShare Annual General Meeting – more news about this will coming to the inbox of members in the next 7-10 days.

Bond Sales

We closed our offering once we reached the $2.2 million target – which only served to increase market demand for ZooShare bonds.  Since we began taking names and pledges for a waiting list, we have 82 people and at least $375,000 committed if ZooShare opens up the investment opportunity further. If you would like to get on our official waiting list, please fill out the form here. Make sure to check the “Yes, I’m already registered as a member” box to avoid filling in information you already sent to us.

Renewable Energy Approval (REA)

We had 3 calls with reviewers from the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and also hosted them, together with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, at the site of our biogas plant in order to give everyone a clearer idea of how our plans will environmentally affect the site.  Discussions continue to be open and productive, and many of the questions at this stage seem to be about clarifying details rather than larger questions requiring further studies.  We believe we are still on track to receive our REA by the end of May, however, the ball is in the Ministry’s court for now and we continue to work with them to ensure a timely approval.

Feedstock

As you may recall, at the outset of the project, ZooShare secured a Letter of Intent for the full supply of organic waste (14,000 tonnes) with Canada’s largest grocery retailer. Following this, we executed a contract for the first 4,000 tonnes in June 2013 for waste to be supplied from stores equipped with on-site mills (to liquify the waste at the store).  We have been working with our partners on the second contract (for the remaining 10,000 tonnes) as it needs to come from a different part of the company since not all stores are equipped with the mills. Complicating the situation somewhat is that there is a different waste management company contracted to pick-up and manage these organics, meaning more players at the negotiating table. Furthermore, the organic waste market in Ontario is quickly evolving, slowing down each party’s ability to forecast future prices for transporting and processing waste. This past month, we continued to meet with and talk through the remaining issues with our partners so that we can execute the second contract, which is a pre-requisite to ZooShare initiating construction of the facility.

Digestate (fertilizer) sale/disposal

Digestate is the nutrient-rich substance produced by our biogas plant that can be used as a fertilizer. The digestate is a slurry when it first comes out of the biogas plant, containing both liquid and solid components. The solids are what we have proposed to put in bags and sell back to you and other gardeners. For the last 9 months, we have been working on ways to maximize the value of the liquid component and reduce the transportation costs. We have made good progress on two fronts: 1. A farmer nearby the Zoo has expressed tentative interest in taking the digestate for his crops, which would mean zero cost for disposal but also zero revenues; 2. A memorandum of understanding is in place with a BC-based technology company that can provide equipment to ZooShare that would process the liquid into concentrated fertilizer and clean water. This technology would have no up-front cost to ZooShare but would require sharing of revenues until the technology is paid off, approximately 6 years.  We are hopeful that option 2 will work out as it will mean greater revenues for the project, but are planning on option 1 to be conservative.

Events and Media

The media loves you as much as they love Zoo poo!  In March, the media was excited to share the news that together, we raised $2.2M. Since then, we have also had interviews PRI World, BioCycle Magazine and the writer of an accounting textbook for 1st-year university students, who is featuring ZooShare as a business case for alternative financing methods.

We also attended Earth Day at the Zoo and Earth Week in the financial district, as well as having a booth in the Social Enterprise Zone at the OCE Discovery Conference.

Zoo-biogas is heating up!

In early April, our two student-interns from Seneca College submitted their final report on the biogas prospects of 10 zoos based in the United States. Their report examined the feasibility of creating similar-sized biogas plants like the one we’re building here in Toronto. The report will allow us to confidently approach other Zoos in the US to discuss potential partnership. Initial introductory emails have already been sent to the 10 zoos identified in the study, and we look forward to providing future updates on this pursuit.

We also recently connected with the Detroit Zoo, which has initiated a biogas project of their own.  The Detroit project differs from ours in that they are only digesting zoo manure and waste produced at the Zoo, and the power will not be sold to the grid, but instead used for internal operations.  We’re very excited that the market is developing and interest is growing.

Blog: Furniture Bank: Turning Houses into Homes

Spring cleaning? Donate your things to Furniture Bank and stop “waste” from going to landfills while turning someone’s house into a home…

Like ZooShare, part of Furniture Bank’s mission is to divert “waste” from landfills. Since 1998, Furniture Bank has saved over 320,000 tonnes of furniture from being thrown out. Items are given, at little or no cost, to individuals and families in need. So far, 62,000 people have been made to feel more at home.

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A look at some of the quality items donated to Furniture Bank

The History of Furniture Bank

Furniture Bank began almost 20 years ago thanks to one woman and her car: Sister Anne Schenck was working at a refugee centre in Scarborough, when she realized that newcomers to Canada “were literally moving into apartments with nothing”. When the Refugee Centre closed in 1994, “I finally had some time to think about how I’d set up what became Furniture Bank,” says Schenck, adding “There was no business plan. I was just doing what I could do and I started talking about my dream.” As word spread, Torontonians who were downsizing or upgrading saw donating to the Furniture Bank as a “natural opportunity to help,” she says.1 With the help of numerous volunteers, countless hours of pro-bono work and financial donations, small and large, Sister Anne formally incorporated Furniture Bank as a charity in 1998.2

Furniture Bank isn’t simply a warehouse for donated chairs and tables–it is a resource to find the confidence to build a better life. 70+ agencies refer over 5,000 people every year to Furniture Bank. Clients are newcomers to Canada, people transitioning out of homelessness, mothers with children exiting abusive relationships and many others in need.

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ZooShare Visits Furniture Bank

ZooShare recently visited Furniture Bank in Etobicoke to learn more about the process: “It was incredible, like walking into an IKEA showroom of quality furniture,” says our Communications Coordinator, Frances Darwin. To learn more, Frances sat down with Noah Kravitz, Community Manager and Fundraising Coordinator at Furniture Bank:

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ZooShare sat down with Noah Kravitz, Community Manager and Fundraising Coordinator at Furniture Bank.

“Donations are not limited to furniture,” explains Kravitz. “We also accept artwork, pots and pans, carpets, TVs, computers, printers and small kitchen appliances.” Thinking of getting a new mattress? Even your old bed can be donated. Furniture Bank also works with Sleep Country as part of their Mattress Recycling Programme, receiving 20-25 beds every 2 weeks. Concerned about bed bugs? No need to be. Furniture Bank has a 99.98% prevention rate due to the extreme care of inspection of all donated items (before pick-up, during processing, after processing) and even bring in a special dog once a month to sniff out the little critters, just in case!

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Furniture Bank also accepts beds, artwork, pots and pans, carpets, TVs, computers, printers and small kitchen appliances.

Keeping Money in the Bank

How does furniture bank make money?  “As a charity, we are grateful for monetary donations, but we also recognized the need to be self-sustainable,” explains Kravitz. For this reason, Furniture Bank launched its Social Enterprise delivery service 10 years ago “which has been the bread and butter since then,” he explains. How does it work? “There is a fee to pick-up your donation, which starts at a competitive $99 $150*.” And why would you choose Furniture Bank over other “junk-haulers”? “Because, as a registered charity, Furniture Bank can issue a “donation-in-kind” tax receipt for the value of the donated furniture. When you donate your furniture, you change a life and reduce you tax bill at the same time!

Recycling Materials into Dollars

In addition to donations and revenues from their pick-up service, Furniture Bank is also able to recycle unsuitable furniture and e-waste to earn additional dollars to help their mission. “Where items aren’t in good enough condition to make it into our showroom, we can recycle the raw materials,” says Kravitz. According to the Furniture Bank blog, over 4500 kgs of cloth and fabrics, 2000 kgs of electronics and 50,000 kgs of metal last year.3

Employment Programme

By training and employing youth and newcomers to Canada through a skills training and employment programme, Kravitz says, “Furniture Bank offers employment to individuals facing barriers in our warehouse, call centre, in furniture repair, upholstery and woodworking.” In the near future their employees’ skills will enable Furniture Bank to provide an additional revenue generating arm: a furniture repair service. Are you a carpenter, cabinetmaker, upholsterer or designer? Click here to learn more about how you can help.

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Win a $99 $150* furniture pick-ip!

This month, let ZooShare and Furniture Bank help you with your Spring Cleaning. You could win a Furniture Bank pick-up worth $99 $150* when you enter our monthly contest. (Please note: There may be additional charges based on the volume of donated goods and the location of the pickup.) To learn more about Furniture Bank’s pickup service, click here.

References:
1. Interview with Sister Anne Schenck by Cam Gordon: http://www.furniturebank.org/discover-sister-anne-started-furniture-bank/
2. http://www.furniturebank.org/us/furniture-bank-story/
3. http://www.furniturebank.org/furniture-donation-recycling/

*pricing updated as of Feb/2021

Member Update: April 2015

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We SOLD OUT of bonds! We are still taking pledges from people who would like to be added to our Waiting List, should we decide to raise additional financing. Click here to join our waiting list (make sure to click “I’m already a member”). Hurry–the waiting list is first-come, first-serve.

We are also excited to share that we have received our Connection Impact Assessment (CIA) from Toronto Hydro! This confirms ZooShare’s space on the Ontario grid, allowing us to sell the power we produce each year.

We expect to receive our Renewable Energy Approval (REA) from the Ministry of the Environment in May. In a recent interview, the Ministry said “We expect to make a decision on the application shortly.”

Bond Showcase

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Thank you to everyone who came out to the Community Bond Showcase on March 19th. This was the first collaborative event between ZooShare, SolarShare and the Centre for Social Innovation. You can read more about the event courtesy of the OurPower blog, or check out these photos.