Critters & Creatures

Share The Love this month by donating your empties to help rescued animals

As the month of February wraps you share your love and help homeless animals.

Empties For Paws is collecting donations this month for their ‘Share The Love’ campaign, an initiative that encourages recycling refundable empties in order to raise funds to support animal rescue. The organization is asking everyone to return their empty beer, wine, liquor bottles/cans to their local bottle drives, and donate the funds to their local animal shelters. Canadian Tire money can also be donated. 

Founder of Empties For Paws, Gisele Villeneuve, explained how the initiative began. “I wanted to start a bottle drive for my local rescue in Renfrew, and I knew of about four others that were collecting empties. I wanted to make a list of the animal rescues that were collecting, so when I was trying to convince people to donate, there was a list to make it easy for them. And then that’s how [Empties For Paws] started.”

In Ontario, empty beer bottles/cans are refundable for $0.10 and wine and liquor bottles for $0.20. With the funds from an empty case of 24, an animal rescue can purchase three cans of cat food or one can of dog food. Alberta refunds almost any drink container for $0.10, including pop cans and bottles.

“Not everyone reports their numbers, and I stopped keeping track, but I have recorded over $400,000 raised since January 2015,” said Villeneuve.

“It’s incredible, the amount of money that can be collected. In Renfrew, the bottle drive that started it all has raised over $41,000. Each year it grows. A lot of people don’t have money to donate to help animals, but they buy beer and wine and liquor. It’s a cost-effective way to help animals because you’ve already made your refund on the bottles.” 

The Empties For Paws website has over 85 animal rescues listed from Ottawa, the Valley, Gatineau, across Ontario, and in Alberta and New Brunswick, where money from recycled empties can be donated.

The funds collected are able to help benefit rescues through the purchase of pet food, vet bills, and lodging required for the animals. Empties For Paws is run entirely by volunteers, with a vision of finding cost-free methods to raise money for animals in need.

When asked about the mission of the initiative in years to come, Villeneuve explained, “I’d like to spread it across Canada. We encourage people to donate their empties, and we also encourage people to start their own bottle drives in their own community to help the local rescue of their choice or a local shelter.”

“I want to stress that anybody can start doing a bottle drive, and if they contact us, we can list their bottle drive on the Empties For Paws website, which acts as a directory for all the bottle drives,” she added.  

Visit the Empties For Paws website for details on where you can donate your empties can be found here.

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Ambar Syed

Born and raised in London, England, Ambar moved to Canada in 2017 after marrying her husband in the CAF. She has always loved writing and started her blog, Her Little Loves, in 2015 while studying for her B.A. (Hons) in English. Ambar is excited to write for CMFMAG and contribute towards the military family community.

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