Radically rethinking recycling Part 3: Re-use centre slated for 2011

Editor’s Note:

In this series dedicated recycler and volunteer Barb Little discusses the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s focus on Zero Waste, its plans for curb-side pick up for Revelstoke in 2010, composting, Extended Producer Responsibility, the Revelstoke Recycling Directory and alternatives like the Hornby Island Free Store. She also features some local recycling superstars, explain the Mechanical Sort Facility and clarifies what exactly can — and cannot — be recycled.

Barb Little
Barb Little

November 27 is Buy Nothing Day.  Originating in Vancouver in 1992 this international day of protest against consumerism claims over-consumption is having a drastic, negative affect upon the planet and that reducing and reusing can make a difference.

Vancouver’s Kalle Lasn, editor of Adbusters Magazine, said recently on CNN, “Every purchase we make has an impact — whether because it’s made from non-renewable resources, is shipped overseas, is packaged in non-recyclable Styrofoam and plastic or its production increases global warming”.

Every community in BC is struggling with tons of waste, a by-product of consumption. According to Lasn, 500 million obsolete cell phones were tossed in the US in 2005.  BC recycles 325 million beverage cans annually.  However, recycling is not a panacea. Most recycled electronics and hazardous wastes are destroyed. There is no market for plastic. Styrofoam does not break down. Windows, mirrors and glass dishware cannot be recycled.

Because they are so remote, the people of Hornby Island have created a successful solution.  For decades they’ve operated a Free Store.  Everything except food waste can be taken to the store.  I’ve seen it — a huge warehouse, neat and tidy, full of shelves floor to ceiling, choc-a-block with books, clothes, furniture, electronics, kitchenware, toys and tools, all free.

“Lots of these reuse sheds exist in the interior,” said Carmen Fennell of CSRD. “Scotch Creek has a prototype, and in 2011 we hope Revelstoke’s landfill operator Scott Renaud of Bresco will have a reuse centre built.  For liability and regulation reasons, the shed has to be away from the active dumping area and there will be a drop off charge, but everything will be free to the public.”

In the meantime, we have plenty of sites for reducing and reusing. Revelstoke’s thrift shops are an astounding reuse-it success story. Last year the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store took in over $250,000.  St Peter’s Goodwill is the newest shop.

Our discards are much needed  overseas. In 2008 Ray and Jackie Brosseuk (Partners for Others) shipped 13 containers of housewares, toys, medical supplies and clothing to Africa. To donate call 250 837-6444.

A prime example of reusing is Trevor Kehler’s thriving business Unlimited Supplies from Everyone’s Discards.  Featured in Business Edge magazine at www.recycledseatbelts.ca/media.php, Kehler harvests seatbelts from junked cars and sews them into trendy eco-savvy totes and purses.

Leave a book, take a book. CBAL has free book bins at the Hospital, Community Centre, Family Laundry, Food Bank, Arena, and RAOP. For more locations call Tracy, 250 837-6669.  The Hospital Auxiliary Thrift has book bins, by donation, at SouthSide Market and Coopers.

Revelstoke Bottle Depot now recycles household paint and electronics — computers, televisions, desktop fax machines. They plan to take DVD players, VCRs, radios and cell phones in 2010.

The thrift shops take clean plastic bags, Coopers recycles plastic grocery and produce bags.  Community Connections recycles Inkjet cartridges and cell phones. Return eyeglasses to optometrist offices, prescription drugs to pharmacies, Sears catalogues to Sears.

Unload stuff online. Visit www.csrd.reuses.com, The Stoked List at http://thestoke.ca/list, or freecycle_revelstoke.

M&J Metal Recycling’s motto is: If it’s Metal We’ll Take It.  Drop off or make arrangements for pick up at 837-9283. Recycle motor oil and filters to Revelstoke Truck Centre, Silverline Transmission or the Hazardous Waste Fairs.

Fennelle said several Hazardous Waste, Electronics and Metal recycling fairs are planned for 2010, but not plastics fairs as plastics 1, 2, 4 & 5 can now be recycled at the bins.  For information contact CSRD at 1-888-248-2773: Consumer Product Stewardship 1-800-772-9772;  Return-It-Electronics 1-800-330-9767.