A depot to recycle rather than trash foam-filled tires, marine rope and netting, plastic barrels, hard plastic floats, and dock or beach foam is slated to open at Sechelt Landfill on April 28.
As a one-year pilot project, the service will be available to small-scale shoreline clean-ups by residents or community groups. It comes out of a partnership between the landfill operator, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), and the non-profit group Ocean Legacy Foundation (OLF), said an April 24 press release.
Those interested in using the depot need to register in advance by emailing email@example.com. Details on the program can be reviewed on the SCRD's website. Items that are not accepted as part of the program include coloured or dirty styrofoam, PVC/ABS tubing, containers or bottles with liquid and metal, glass or fibreglass.
The release noted that large-scale residential, commercial or industrial dock renovations and end-of-life materials will not be accepted at the depot, those with such items should contact OLF directly.
Materials collected locally will be transported to Ocean Legacy’s marine plastic processing facility in Richmond, where they are washed, dried, shredded, heated, cut, and turned into plastic pellets. The pellets are recycled into various items including non-structural lumber, benches, and boat parts.
In the release, SCRD manager of solid waste services Marc Sole stated, "Staff have been pursuing options to recycle ocean plastics and marine debris materials in order to help decrease the amount of plastic washing up on beaches, reduce our carbon footprint, and importantly maximize space at the landfill.”
In 2022, the SCRD reported that it accepted just under 16 tons of beach and dock foam at Sechelt landfill. That waste used approximately 6,000 square meters of space, an area equivalent to about three tennis courts, which was equated to the space needed for eight days of landfill life.
The SCRD estimates that landfill site will be at capacity by 2025. It is slated to embark on the second phase of public consultation on planning for future solid waste management later this year.
The SCRD board endorsed the pilot project on March 9. That enabled the region to join OLF's recycling network, which includes four depots already operating in Powell River, Ucluelet, Port McNeill, and Cumberland.