ANYONE with a bright-green idea can now apply for project money from the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine.
That’s because it has grant money available specifically for eco-friendly projects that keep material and objects from being thrown away.
Project Eco-prise is an ongoing project hosted by the regional district now in its fourth year. For 2012, there’s $32,000 available to be applied for by any entrepreneur looking to make an environmental difference.
“That’s basically what Project Eco-prise is all about … tapping into creativity and expertise,” said program director Laurie Gallant. “If your idea is going to help us get to zero waste, then we want to fund it.”
Because there’s only so much money to distribute, Gallant added it becomes like a contest with those involved because they compete for the cash through their applications.
The money isn’t given out in full, though, and is usually divided amongst the best ideas put forward.
There are two categories.
The first is for infrastructure or material recovery credits for companies.
Local recycling company Do Your Party Recycling, for example, has received money.
“We paid them by material type a certain dollar-per-tonne value,” said Gallant, adding that one of the questions asked is if money will actually improve how green a business becomes.
The next area is money for marketing.
“Say if you’re a recycling or composting business, we’re willing to help fund the marketing side of your business,” said Gallant.
The upper limit for marketing is $5,000.
But it’s not just conventional recycling or composting businesses that are eligible.
“We want to raise awareness and it’s normal to think about zero waste,” she said. “We’re willing to go to some really fun crazy places if that’s what it takes.”
She gave an example of two Northwest Community College students in Terrace last year who got a grant to publish a children’s book that raised awareness about waste and used Terrace and Thornhill dumps as examples.
“There’s some activities around why we shouldn’t put things in landfills and what the other options are,” said author Melanie Stephens. “We have an activity where kids can write down their ideas about how to reduce, reuse or compost items rather than putting them in the landfill.”
The book, World Warriors: Kids Protecting the Planet, was circulated to grades four and five classes throughout Terrace.
“I would say the grant was a catalyst for sure,” said Stephens, who wrote it with her classmate Kelsey Minhinnick.
“There is no way we would have been able to do this on our own. We were actually able to hire a graphic designer to pay to put this together and … to have it printed on recycled paper.”
Stephens added the application for the grant money was straight forward.