(Left to right) Monica Fraser

Bottles for change

Campaign handing out water bottles filled with sand.

A campaign for local residents to save water with every toilet flush will be launched Saturday in a Kelowna area neighbourhood.

Open For Change, a local non-profit social enterprise, will have volunteers canvassing door-to-door to hand out plastic bottles filled with sand, encouraging homeowners to place the bottles in the back of their toilet tanks to displace water with every flush.

Michael Lavigne, the driving force behind Open For Change, says the amount of water saved from 500 households is about 50,750 litres per week by following this simple step.

The neighbourhood canvassed will be roughly between Richter Street, Clement Avenue, Gordon Drive and Highway 97.

The project will mark the completion of a campaign that started last month when volunteers conducted a drive to collect 1,000 bottle containers, glass or plastic, and then fill each one up with sand.

“This is a project that has been about four months in the planning to get to this point,” explained Lavigne. “We chose this particular area to do it because it is a large residential area and our headquarters, the Artisan House on Lawrence Avenue, is also part of the neighbourhood.”

Lavigne hopes the initiative will serve as a launch pad of the idea to be adopted across Kelowna, with everyone who places a sand-filled bottle in their toilet tank to take a selfie pic and post it online to develop a social media following.

The concept behind the sand in the bottle idea is it requires less water to fill up the tank after a flush.

“The plastic pop bottles are the best thing for this because using rocks or a brick as an alternative, both of those things will start to disintegrate over time in the tank and get into the water stream which can cause problems for the toilet,” Lavigne explained. “The beauty of the plastic bottles is they take hundreds of years to disintegrate in a landfill. They won’t leach or decompose stored in a dark space. Put a cap on it and it can sit there forever helping to conserve water.”

Lavigne said the bottle canvassing will take place on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Along with the bottles, volunteers will also be handing out information about water saving techniques for our homes.

To learn more about the campaign, check out the website OpenForChange.com/BottlesForChange.