When GIRO opened its doors in 1991, “climate change,” “sustainability,” and “carbon footprint” weren’t a part of most people’s conversations.
The founding GIRO members moved a small building onto land donated by Merv and Annette Sweeney, opened a recycling centre, and committed themselves to re-using and recycling. Their creative spirit has inspired GIRO for over 30 years.
Today, GIRO’s reputation for innovation and programming spreads well beyond the Nanaimo area, and GIRO is a must-see for many visitors— a community hub, rich with personality and strong with its work for our planet.
For over 30 years, GIRO has provided significant means and ways for our community to recycle, re-use, and re-fashion every imaginable household and outdoor item.
“After all these years, I still feel proud to be a founding member of what started out as a recycling depot and has now become an essential part of our community, providing employment and right livelihood, and a great place to re-imagine our consumption habits.”
“I appreciate the dedicated people who work at GIRO for their help whenever I drop items off or seek items from the re-store. GIRO provides more recycling services than any place I have lived. That is amazing as I have lived in many large cities across Canada. I encourage everyone on the Island to support this very worthwhile organization.”
GIRO’s waste diversion reports confirm its role as a regional leader in recycling and repurposing used materials. Its system-bending programs include teaching students sustainable values at the Gabriola Elementary School, then supporting these students in their climate-actions in our community. GIRO also assists local businesses working to make their operations green and responsible.
During the last decade, GIRO built a new home for the Re-Store, a new roof for the recycling and receiving areas, along with concrete slabs and pathways that improved access to our facility. In 2019, we installed a solar array on our roof and began selling electricity back to BC Hydro. It will pay for itself by 2029. In 2021, we completed a shed that provides a new home for used building materials and supplies.
These improvements were achieved using a combination of government grants, private donations, and local labour—both paid and volunteer.
In 2021-22, GIRO plans to build a textile-repurposing building as part of its C2C Textile Recycling Initiative (Cradle-to-Cradle). We have applied for and received two generous grants, but we are fund-raising for the final details of the maker-space building: the purchase of specialized equipment and industrial furniture. You can help.
This experiment with a “circular economy” has received province-wide interest, along with international press coverage. Please consider either a one-time gift or a regular monthly donation that helps us make this project and others like it a success.*
“Being engaged with our waste and discards has always been important to me—it helps to balance the mindlessness that can come with consumption.
GIRO is a gift – a place where care, intelligence and community come together. A source of pride for Gabriolans.”
Become a change-maker. Support the spirit that started GIRO in 1991. Help us show the world new ways to live, new ways to be.