The Carlington Summit

Collecting pop tabs to get a wheelchair? How can that be? Well, it is true. Various organizations in this area have been collecting pop tabs, which can be used to purchase wheelchairs.

In 1989, Ray Pearse heard a rumour that 10,000 pop tabs could be converted into money for wheelchairs. Though, when he had collected enough tabs, he discovered this was an urban myth. He then set out to the recycling market to find a buyer for the tabs. The Pop Tab Committee as formed and continues to collect pop tabs.

In 1992, Ottawa Area Girl Guides became involved with this project. Guide House on Parkdale Avenue is the main depot for pop tabs in the Ottawa Area. Every three months, several tonnes are shipped to Fergus, Ontario. Some months, the shipping and receiving area is filled wall to wall with boxes of pop tabs as tabs arrive every week in various containers and boxes.

To help get your mind around what we are talking about: approximately 1000 tabs = 1 lb. = 47cents; 4 million tabs = 2 tons = 1 wheelchair. As of June, 315 wheelchairs have been acquired under this program.

What can you do to help? At home or at work, put a jar or tin by the recycling box with a notice requesting the pop tabs be placed in it. It only takes a few seconds to help obtain a wheelchair for someone who needs it most.

Guiding plans to continue to support this worthwhile project as it demonstrates teamwork and community service. It would be greatly appreciated if large donations of pop tabs could be placed in cardboard boxes and well taped before arriving at Guide House.

For more information or the full pop tab story go to or contact your local Guiding unit.