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A Canadian Invention Saving a Billion+ Pounds of Goods and Materials from the Landfill for Over Thirty Years  

October 14, 2022 - London, ONHabitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario celebrates the 21st annual Waste Reduction Week in Canada (October 17th-23rd) by honouring the history of the ReStore – one of Canada's oldest social enterprise inventions that is leading the way in waste reduction around the world.  

Habitat ReStores are independently owned social enterprises (see below) operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. ReStores accept donations and sell a constantly changing inventory of diverse, high-quality merchandise to the public at a fraction of the retail price while diverting reusable household items and building materials from area landfills.  

In 1991, five Canadian volunteers opened Habitat for Humanity's first-ever ReStore in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their vision was clear: keep new and used home and building materials out of the waste stream while helping fund Habitat's work. Customers flocked to the store to find deals on windows, doors, paint, hardware, tools, furniture, appliances and decor to spruce up their own homes while helping others build and secure theirs. Based on this reception, the concept quickly spread.   

A year after the first store opened in Canada, Habitat for Humanity in Texas brought the ReStore to the U.S. by opening its first store in Austin in 1992. As of 2021, there are more than 1,000 ReStore locations across six countries (110 in Canada), all contributing to Habitat's vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live.  

Through the ReStore model, Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario can fund the operations of the organization so that the funding and grants received from individuals and foundations can go directly to building affordable housing across the six counties that we serve: Middlesex, Elgin, Oxford, Perth, Brant, or Norfolk County.   

"Our eight Heartland ReStores are the organization's lifeblood, helping us self-fund our operations. But also, they allow us to connect daily with people in the communities we serve and play an important role in waste reduction," said Alan MacKinnon, Interim CEO of Habitat Heartland ON.   

The first Habitat Heartland Ontario ReStore opened in London in 1995, and the most recent store location in 2020.   

Annually, Habitat Heartland ReStores save over 100,000 lbs of reusable goods from landfills, process over 200,000 lbs of metal recycling, and over 50,000 lbs of electronic recycling. This activity significantly helps Habitat Canada achieve its Billion Pound Challenge of diverting over a billion pounds of household items and building supplies from landfills this year (from Habitat Canada https://habitat.ca/en/restore).  

What is a Social Enterprise:   

According to the British Columbia Centre for Social Enterprise, "Social enterprises are revenue-generating businesses with a twist. Whether operated by a non-profit organization or by a for-profit company, a social enterprise has two goals: to achieve social, cultural, community economic and/or environmental outcomes; and to earn revenue" (from https://www.centreforsocialenterprise.com/what-is-social-enterprise/). The social enterprise model began in the U.K. in the late '70s "as an alternative commercial, organisational model to private businesses" (from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_enterprise). The model started getting traction in North America in the early '80s. 

Habitat Heartland ReStore Locations:   

1- 611 Wonderland North, London, ON  

5- 40 Pacific Court, London, ON  

317 Adelaide Street South, London, ON  

1058 Parkinson Road, Woodstock, ON  

598 Lorne Avenue East, Stratford, ON  

5-280 Edward Street, St Thomas, ON  

29 Park Road, Simcoe, ON  

80 Morton Ave. East, Brantford, ON  

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About Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario

To mobilize volunteers and partners to provide opportunities for families to achieve affordable and sustainable homeownership to break the cycle of poverty and strengthen communities. We build affordable housing and promote homeownership by mobilizing volunteers and community partners. 


Habitat for Humanity Heartland Ontario – Al MacKinnon, Acting CEO amackinnon@habitat4home.ca (519) 455-6623 x222