UsedVancouver Visits Gibsons Recycling Depot
After collecting 44 car seats at the Bellies to Babies Celebration last month, I packed up my oldest son and the expired car seats and headed out to Gibsons Recycling Depot on the West Coast. They are setting new standards in the world of recycling and I was very excited to visit and deliver the car seats. They’re the only recycling depot I know of that will strip the car seats of the flame retardant foam and cloth covering, then recycle the plastic base and metal. One thing is clear as you pull into the depot yard – education is important. This is the sign posted when you pull in:
I’ve added my thoughts to the image (in bright green!) but thinking about the true cost of items is important and could be the most important question you ask yourself as a responsible consumer. Touring the depot you see the answer to this question in every bin you peek inside. The cheap plastic trinket might not actually cost $1 – when it will never break down, cannot be recycled, and is thrown away. Is the true cost of that item still $1? Not a chance if it’s still hanging around on earth 100+ years after it’s been tossed into a landfill.
The most uplifting moment for me at the depotwas realizing if things actually get to a recycling depot – they can disappear. Even something like plastic bags that we frown upon in society can be recycled when they reach the depots. Glass was another surprising material for me. The length of time it takes glass to break down in a landfill is estimated to take 100+ million years. When glass finds it’s way to a recycling depot, it’s sorted into different colors and then culled into tiny pieces and becomes are revenue earner. Gibsons sells all of the glass that is culled and the life cycle of this product is amazing! We know glass can be reused in it’s solid form over and over again but when it arrives at Gibsons Recycling Depot – it becomes an entirely new product used as the ingredient in paint or building supplies, sand on beaches, ceramic tiles, fiberglass, etc. If you look at the top picture with the sign, the white material that looks like snow is actually glass that’s been recycled into beach sand.
A few days after we delivered the car seats to the depot, they launched exciting news about phase one of a curbside collection program for recyclables in Gibsons using two electrically powered cube vans. They’re the first subscribed curbside collection of recyclables in Canada, maybe even North America using electrically powered vehicles to pickup waste that is not funded by taxes. This service is aimed at residents that don’t drive or are incapable of visiting the depot in person and are charged under a user pay model.
Spreading education about people being accountable for their waste seems to have remained the core mission of Gibsons Recycling and I think this place is an amazing model that inspires being responsible for your waste and learning how to manage it better. Usedvancouver.com is excited to have the green light from Gibsons to lead another car seat recycling campaign in the spring. It’s wonderful to have made this connection with recycling experts so close to our home base – thanks for all your great work Gibsons Recycling! And why did I take my oldest son on this field trip? What better way for him to learn about managing his own personal waste – electronics, toys, and gifts are tough to manage from a waste perspective. It was great to have him there with me to peek inside recycling bins and gain a new perspective on the importance of recycling.