Submitted by René de Vos, on behalf of Noreen Taylor (depot coordinator) and the Oak Bay Green Committee

Once a month over three years now, community volunteers have been sorting and bagging plastics, Styrofoam and other materials for recycling at the tennis court parking lot at Carnarvon Park.

Why are they spending their Saturday mornings at this?

Volunteers sorting plastics for recyclingThe overall objective is to divert more material than is currently collected in your blue boxes from the Hartland Landfill to recycling sources. The initiative was begun in October 2006 by the Oak Bay Green Committee in partnership with Pacific Mobile Depots, and sanctioned by the municipality of Oak Bay.

Well over 200 householders bring their recyclable plastic waste to the depot each month. A couple of dozen volunteers sort and bag an average of 135 large (26’ x 48”) bags which are hauled away by PMD.

Householders pay to PMD have this material recycled but the Oak Bay Green Committee receives 20 % of the receipts, and has in turn donated $2,500 to the municipal Tree Donation Program and spent over $1,000 for community environmental education (student bursaries and public seminars).

What’s the future for this project?

Oak Bay Green Committee has always believed that the blue box program should be expanded so that these materials can be collected at the curb. Oak Bay Green Committee has recently written to Council to reiterate this view. The Capital Regional District is now in the process of getting “Requests for Proposals” from its contractors to add polycoated cartons, film (“soft”) plastics and polysterene (Styrofoam) to the program, in anticipation of the end of current contracts in 2012.
Piles of plastics

This is a drawn out process, but at some point the expanded RFPs will be discussed with municipal councils. Councilor Tara Ney is Oak Bay’s representative on the CRD’s Solid Waste Advisory Committee and as such is a key connector to this issue.

If you support this direction taken by the CRD, and wish Oak Bay Council to endorse this direction when the RFPs are reviewed and decisions are made, let your elected representatives know where you stand.

In the meantime, clean, sort, and bring all those “other” plastics to the recycling depot on the fourth Saturday of the month from 9:00 to 11:30.