Saturday, December 26, 2009

From the Local Newspaper...


By Peter Rusland - Cowichan News Leader Pictorial

Published: December 24, 2009 6:00 AM

Styrofoam is perhaps the only waste Cowichan’s successful recycling program doesn’t handle.

But Cowichan Recyclists owners Katie Harris and Aaron Bichard are tapping the Styrofoam market as locals face a Christmas mountain of the petroleum-based plastic that doesn’t fully break down.

“We’ve actually been offering to take customers’ No. 6 Styrofoam for past few months and they’re taking advantage of it,” Bichard said.

Customers pre-arrange for foam pick up, or a drop-off place.

“We only want white, block Styrofoam found around fridges and other appliances, stereos, and toys, so no meat or cookie trays, or Styrofoam with labels on it.

“Our municipalities and the regional district don’t have a way of recycling it because it was cost-prohibitive, but we have an option,” he said.

Recyclists have partnered with local EcoSIP Industries to have the lightweight waste shipped to a mainland plant where it’s turned back into Styrofoam as insulation panels and more.

“It’s 100 per cent recyclable,” stated Bichard.

Folks should call the Recyclists, not eco-housing builder EcoSIP.

“EcoSIP allows us to piggyback our collection with their truck returning to the plant, where the polystyrene will be recycled.”

The Styro-service is part of the Recyclists’ goal to help Cowichan reach zero waste instead of continuing to pay $3 million annually for shipping trash stateside or to the mainland.

Bichard’s optimistic about the local Styro-stream market.

“Already we’ve had a dozen calls from people saying they’ve saved Styrofoam for years and now there’s an option.”

The couple has also approached business-supply giant Staples about taking customers’ No. 6 foam.

Still, ferry and fuel costs remain, and there’s no government dough for disposal costs.

“There are no tax dollars at work here — this is independent of the Cowichan Valley Regional District and municipalities,” Bichard explained.

That’s likely because island Styro-recycling facilities don’t exist, he said, coupled with low public pressure for politicians to ship and recycle it.

For more, call Cowichan Recyclists at 250-732-3619, or visit

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