Carol is the winner of the Styrofoam ‘plot pot’. She completed the Let’s Talk Trash team survey at the Powell River Film Festival and was selected in the drawing from all 76 applicants. Thank you to everyone for completing our survey and providing us with valuable information for the Powell River Regional District. Carol is pleased to have a ‘piece of her contributed Styrofoam’ back home and out of the landfill. You can hear her surprise and enthusiasm on the latest podcast of the Let’s Talk Trash radio show on CJMP, 90.1FM, your community radio station.
The Styrofoam pilot project was borne through reflection of our societal trend during the Christmas holidays of ‘out with the old and in with the new’. Unfortunately, in with the new often comes with excess packaging, much of that being Styrofoam. Most packaging Styrofoam is recyclable but in Powell River we currently do not have any recycling facility that accepts this material. Upon visualizing white mountains of Styrofoam piling up in our landfill over this holiday season, the Let’s Talk Trash team made it a mission to collect as much of it as possible to transport down to Gibsons Recycling Depot on the lower Sunshine Coast where it would be recycled.
For four weeks (Dec.14-Jan.14) citizens of Powell River were able to and encouraged to drop their Styrofoam off at Augusta Recyclers on Wednesdays and Saturdays when the Let’s Talk Trash team would be manning a Styrofoam collection station. Close to 350 large and extra large plastic bags full of Styrofoam were received, well over predicted amounts. This collection culled the amount down to just over 300 bags after removing contaminated pieces such as wet or dirty pieces and then a large portion of un-recyclable Styrofoam, which is constructed with un-recyclable plastic (all Styrofoam is made from plastic and like plastic some is recyclable and some is not). Citizens of Powell River seemed enthusiastic about this project and participation rates were astonishing.
On January 17th, 2012, three days after the completion of the pilot project the Let’s Talk Trash team along with a transport driver from Augusta Recyclers delivered the collected Styrofoam to Gibsons Recycling Depot. The workers at this facility gave us a warm welcome and educated our team further on exactly what types of Styrofoam are and are not recyclable. Therefore one last sorting cull took place leaving a final tally of 304 large bags of Styrofoam.
Styrofoam meat trays, egg cartons and the packing peanuts currently do not have a resalable market but these items are recyclable to the creative minds at Gibsons Recycling Depot have created an upcycled product out of these materials. Once they have been processed in the densification machine the condensed product that spews out the mouth of the machine are formed into various shapes of planter pots. These pots have been named ‘plot pots’ and four were brought back to Powell River. The team hopes to place a few of these pots around the community for demonstration. If you see them around we encourage you to fondle them as they have made quite the transformation from when you last saw this material in the form of a meat tray, egg carton or packing peanuts. The marketable Styrofoam will be sold and shipped out by the depot for future use in the manufacturing of crown moldings, pictures frames or coat hangers for example.
A Styrofoam Round Up Pilot Project Summary Report has been submitted to the Powell River Regional Board detailing this project in its entirety.