Find exciting updates on initiatives we are working on below:
Ditidaht Community School Launches Recycling Depot
Up until the beginning of June, the Nitinaht community, located northwest of Lake Cowichan, had only one option for its community waste: send it to the landfill. Teacher, Kaila Pidwebeski, who has been working at the local Ditidaht Community School for the past two years, knew there were better options out there and contacted us at Synergy Foundation back in September 2020 to see if we could help them set up there own recycling depot.
Working with Kaila and the grade 8 to 12 students (all 14 of them), Synergy Foundation developed a plan and coordinated key logistics to get the depot up and running to serve the 200-member community. Connections were established with Indigenous Services Canada and Recycle BC for additional support. Indigenous Services Canada has provided funding to cover the full cost of hauling the recyclables out of the community.
“The process of planning a recycling depot and then making it a reality has been an incredible journey,” says Pidwerbeski. “[…] Arming students with a consciousness of their ability to make positive change is tremendously powerful and probably the best chance we have at truly turning things around for the better.”
The depot is now open twice a week and students are on hand to accept recyclable materials brought in by residents and to answer any questions. The facility is housed in a shipping container that was renovated and painted by the students. There are roughly half a dozen students that work at the depot, and they will receive wages from the First Nation for the summer. Now that the depot is operational Nitinaht can look to join Recycle BC’s First Nations Recycling Initiative in the coming year, providing them with the ability to collect other waste streams such as batteries, tires, and appliances.
We have received additional funding from Vancity Credit Union to support other indigenous communities of Vancouver Island to create similar programs. Synergy is welcoming any Indigenous communities that are seeking a recycle depot to reach out directly.
"Our Ditidaht ancestors, and our neighbours, took care of the land before us, and this is a modern example of Ditidaht people continuing that work today."
- Tina Joseph, Community Member
CleanBC Plastics Action Fund
The $5 million CleanBC Plastics Action Fund supports projects in BC that are increasing the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic in the production of plastic items, focusing on innovation, supply chain resiliency and supporting the plastic circular economy.
Turning plastics from old car batteries into new ones, developing artificial intelligence to sort plastics for recycling and supporting local micro-recycling facilities are among nine projects being funded under the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund.
In order to be eligible for funding, projects had to achieve at least one of the following outcomes when it comes to post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics:
Increase BC’s processing capacity to supply more PCR plastics to product and packaging manufacturers
Increase the use of PCR plastics in manufacturing
Support PCR plastics product research, design, and testing, including trials that have the potential to increase the use of PCR plastic
“These projects show what British Columbians can accomplish when their great ideas and enthusiasm are supported by a government that’s serious about tackling plastic waste and reducing pollution of our land and ocean,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Today, we take another key step towards building a more conscientious and comprehensive B.C. recycling program that’s focused on transforming used plastic into an economic asset.”
This fund is administered by Alacrity Canada. The Alacrity Cleantech team assessed applications for eligibility together with Synergy Foundation, a circular economy subject matter expert.
This project is funded by the Government of British Columbia's CleanBC Program.
More than 40% of all plastics are designed to be used once and then thrown away.
87% of plastics in Canada end up in landfills, only 9% is recycled, and the remaining 4% is incinerated.