RMRS & SD42 Support Zero Waste School Pilots

Dan at Yennadon Elementary Worm Workshop 1 - October, 2013School District 42 and Ridge Meadows Recycling Society are partnering to support local schools that are taking initiatives towards becoming a Zero Waste School.

A number of initiatives are being tested out at Alouette & Fairview Elementary schools and will be a first step toward helping other schools in the District reduce waste, conserve water & energy, encourage reuse, and save money. These initiatives include a “Pack it in, Pack it out” policy, turning excess lights off in classrooms to save energy, placing 1-litre bottles in toilet tanks to conserve water¸ encouraging reuse through a used book exchange box in the school lobby, and adding special plants to classrooms to encourage nature appreciation and improve the air quality.

On October 13, as part of their annual Waste Reduction Week presentation to Maple Ridge Council, Ridge Meadows Recycling and the elementary schools will be sharing the results of the schools’ initiatives and presenting Mayor & Council with their very own Zero Waste Kits.

Mrs.Findley & Art Cart at Harry Hooge Elementary - October, 2015“When we heard about Alouette & Fairview elementary schools’ decision to focus on reducing their waste through a new ‘Pack it in, Pack it out’ policy, we knew we wanted to help support them,” says RMRS Vice-President Leigh Hodgins. “Showing ways we can help schools reduce their waste is a great fit for our Waste Reduction Week presentation.”

The “Pack it in, Pack it out” policy refers to students bringing the waste from their lunches and snacks back home with them to recycle, compost, or throw away. Many people are already familiar with the phrase, usually applied when visiting a park or hiking, and as a bonus, parents are able to see any food that their kids aren’t eating and reduce food waste.

“Our ‘Pack it in, Pack it out’ campaign has led to practically zero lunch garbage in the classrooms and on the playground,” says Alouette Elementary Principal Melanie Roth.  “I am happily surprised at how stunning the results have been and how easy it has been to get students and parents on board. Because of this initiative, we have now moved from weekly garbage pickup to having it picked up once a month.”

Banana & Class“A zero waste school is more than just a school that generates the least amount of garbage through composting and recycling efforts,” says Alexandra Tudose, School District 42’s Manager of Energy and Environmental Sustainability. “A zero waste school looks at all of its wasteful activities and does something about them. Energy waste is another form of waste that the school district encourages individual schools to take action against. Removing waste is not only good for the environment but also for our budget. Our school district can save on electricity, natural gas and garbage pickup costs by removing waste!”

Waste Reduction Week 2015 is October 19-25. For more information, visit

School District 42RMRS Logo with outlined wordsWaste Reduction Week - Oct.19-25, 2015




Ridge Meadows Recycling’s Guide & Scout Waste Reduction Challenge!

Scouts Depot Tour 11 - April 30, 2013 (via 1st Haney Cubs)Ridge Meadows Recycling Society has created a special Waste Reduction Challenge badge for Maple Ridge Guide & Scout groups in honour of Waste Reduction Week in October.

“We are excited to be working with Guide & Scout groups this year,” says Carol Botting, President of Ridge Meadows Recycling, “Caring for the environment has always been an integral part of the Scouting and Guiding movements and partnering with them is a natural fit for our Society.”

Local Guide & Scout groups have been given a list of Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s challenges through their Area Commissioners which they must fulfill in order to get the badge. There are three different sets of challenges, depending on the age group. The first set is designed for younger kids and includes Sparks, Brownies, and Beaver Scouts. The second set is for Guides and Cub Scouts, and the third is designed for the older Pathfinders and Scouts.

A1st Haney Beavers doing Recycling Relay 2014 4 - croppedll challenges include learning how to sort their family’s recycling & set it out at the curb by 7:00am on recycling day, but also cover topics like litterless lunches, composting, and energy & water conservation.  The groups will receive a visit from Ridge Meadows Recycling’s Environmental Educator, Dan Mikolay, and the older kids will be touring the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot to learn more about the recycling process.

To book a workshop with Dan for your Scout or Guide group, simply fill out the form below!

“Both youth & adult members of Scouting in Maple Ridge are looking forward to working on the Waste Reduction Challenge,” says Three Rivers Area Commissioner Christi Goncalves, “From the Beaver Scouts’ promise to ‘help take care of the world’ to the Scouts’ law to be ‘wise in the use of all resources,’ environmentalism is found at all stages of the Scouting movement.”

“Part of the Girl Guides of Canada Law is a notation that it is our responsibility to protect our common environment,” adds Lougheed Area Commissioner Darlene Kent, “We make it fun so the girls learn about conservation, water, nature, ecology, sustainability, and so many other topics. As future leaders, we will need our Girls to continue to protect our environment.”

Youth can learn more about Guiding or Scouting by visiting their websites at and Anyone interested in visiting or registering in a local group can contact:


Scouts Canada Logo 2014Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers, & Rovers (co-ed):
Christi Goncalves, 604-818-7625, or email


Girl Guides of Canada Logo 2014Sparks, Brownies, Guides, & Pathfinders (girls only):
BC Girl Guide office, 1-800-565-8111 or


WRW 2014 logoThe Ridge Meadows Recycling Waste Reduction Challenge badge is available to any member of Guiding (Sparks – Pathfinders) or Scouting (Beavers – Scouts) in Maple Ridge who has completed the requirements. Challenge badges will be handed out to Guide & Scout representatives at a special Waste Reduction Week presentation to Maple Ridge Mayor & Council at 7:00pm on Tuesday, October 28, 2014.


Downloads for Leaders & Parents:
Download the 2014 RMRS Waste Reduction Challenge Badge Requirements, the WRW2014 – Sparks-Brownies-Beavers Worksheet, the WRW2014 – Guides-Cubs Worksheet, or the WRW2014 – Pathfinders-Scouts Worksheet!

If you are a parent or leader, also check out Message to Parents – Sparks – Guides & Beavers – CubsMessage to Parents – Pathfinders & ScoutsMessage to Leaders – Sparks – Guides & Beavers – Cubs, or Message to Leaders – Pathfinders & Scouts.


Workshop Request Form

If you would like to have a workshop at your class, school, organization, business, or apartment, please fill out the form below and Daniel Mikolay, our Environmental Educator, will be in touch with you.
  • Please select the grade closest to your class or "School Wide Workshops." Our environmental educator will contact you to discuss the workshop and set a time & date after you have submitted the form.
  • Other organizations, please specify what type of workshop you are interested in. You can also write any additional information or comments. Thank you for your interest & have a great workshop!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Top 40 under 40 Search “Unearths” Inspiring Youth!

Kids at KEEPS booth at Earth Day 2012 by Amber Light PhotographyWhen Ridge Meadows Recycling Society and the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times launched our search for the Top 40 under 40 Community Environmental Leaders, we didn’t know who would step forward. By the deadline, we had received nominations for over 40 youth who are taking action and making an impact in all kinds of ways.

From a 5-year old who vigilantly reminds his family to turn off lights and recycle everything they can, to a 13-year old who completed a 120km bike ride for his summer vacation, the next generation of environmentalists come with a built-in sense of urgency about the future they are growing into.

Thomas Haney Eco Action Group 2011
These are leaders in many fields – water, energy, and nature conservation; recycling and waste reduction efforts; local food and permaculture; visual and musical arts; and green business initiatives – many who have been aware of environmental issues throughout their lives and are now at a point where they are taking action.

“There is a sense of crossover between these fields,” says Leanne Koehn, who organized the search along with Ridge Meadows Recycling’s summer student, Jesse Russell, “I think the next generation sees the connections between all these fields and has a more holistic view on how they fit together to create a sustainable future for our planet. ‘Environmentalist’ is no longer a label, it’s a lifestyle.”

The original three categories (Child, Youth, and Adult) grew to include “Family,” “Class,” and “Honourable Mentions” as nominations started rolling in. “We didn’t want to exclude anyone,” explains Leanne, “This search was just a starting point to identify, highlight, and bring together youth who are making a difference. The longer-term plan is to work with them throughout the year and beyond to support their projects, and give them a platform for their ideas through our social media, website and newsletters.”

Farm for Life Permaculture WorkshopIn addition to a special feature the Times is doing on the Top 40 under 40, they are all invited to a celebration at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot where they will go on a special Depot Tour and receive certificates and gift bags containing items from local and environmental businesses and organizations. They will then head to the Municipal Hall for a photo opportunity with Maple Ridge Mayor & Council.

Click to meet our top 40 under 40 & read their inspiring stories!

RMRS Trailer - Recycling: The Next Generation!

New items accepted at Recycling Depot starting July 1, 2012

On July 1, 2012, there are a number of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) programs expanding, which means more items will be accepted at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot as part of BC Stewardship Programs. While all electric & electronic items are already accepted at the depot (“Everything with a battery or a cord!”), people can bring many more items to the depot for recycling starting July 1, 2012.

New EPR items accepted July 1, 2012Newly accepted items through Encorp’s Return-It Electronics program include everything used with electronic systems such as 8-tracks, records, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, laser discs, memory cards, game cartridges, VHS (& Beta!) tapes, floppy discs, & USB drives. While this program doesn’t include the cases, they will be covered in the future by the EPR program for packaging and printed paper, which is currently in its planning stages.

Product Care’s LightRecycle program is also expanding from just fluorescent light bulbs & tubes to include all light bulbs, including incandescent, LED, halogen, & miniature (flashlight & Christmas lights) light bulbs. The program is also expanding from residential lights to businesses & organizations in the “ICI” sector, which covers Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional. Other programs are expanding to include medical grade electronics, electronic toys, car electronics (GPS systems, stereos, & radios), all electric or electronic tools, gaming systems, and any sport, leisure, arts, craft, or hobby devices that have a power cord, plug, or battery.

Here is a list of some of the new items accepted at the Recycling Depot starting July 1, 2012:

8-track tapes
Answering machines

Baby monitors & receivers


Bread makers

Cassette tapes

Christmas lights
Coffee makers

Digital microscopes & telescopes

Drill presses


Ebook readers
Electric grass trimmers
Electric guitars

Electric lawn mowers

Electronic blood pressure devices

Electronic exercise machines

Electronic musical instruments
Electronic thermometers
Electronic toys
Ethernet switches


Floppy discs
Food processors

Game cartridges

Gaming consoles & controllers
Halogen lights
Hand-held GPS devices
Hand mixers

Incandescent light bulbs




Laser discs
LED lightbulbs
Media storage devices

Memory cards


Pocket & desk calculators

Power drills
Power tools

Satellite dishes & radio receivers

Sewing machines


Table saws

USB drives
Vehicle audio & video systems
VHS tapes

Walkie talkies

Searching for the Top 40 under 40 – Help Us Find The Next Generation of Environmental Leaders!

40 Under 40 Promo Flyer - May, 2012Are you a passionate recycler or environmental advocate between the ages of 4 and 40? Do you know someone who is?

Ridge Meadows Recycling Society and The Times newspaper are teaming up to seek the top 40 young environmentalists in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows who will become the next generation of recycling and environmental leaders.

Our top 40 will be recognized during Waste Reduction Week in October. Visit our “40 under 40” page for more info and to fill in an online nomination form.

The little girl in the following video would probably be nominated for a “40 under 40” award…but only if she was lucky enough to live in Maple Ridge or Pitt Meadows!

Community and Sunshine Join RMRS to Celebrate Earth Day and 40 Years of Recycling!

SFU Cheerleading Flash Mob at Earth Day 2012

On Saturday, April 21, 2012, the sunshine and more than 3000 people came out for the biggest and best Earth Day event ever held in Maple Ridge!  Memorial Peace Park was bursting at the seams, with a multitude of entertainers, activities, demos and displays in every corner of the park and the Arts Centre and Theatre during the four-hour community party.

RMRS 40th Anniversary Cake at Earth Day 2012
We avoided sending plates and forks to the landfill by ordering a Cupcake Cake!

The very first Earth Day was the spark that inspired the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, so we tied our 40th Anniversary party in with the annual Earth Day celebrations in Maple Ridge. We wanted to make it a big event and create an atmosphere of celebration and recognition for all the ways the community supports the environment. It was a team effort, and everybody worked hard to create interesting green activities and displays celebrating nature & the outdoors, innovation & technology, community, and families.

Tying in our 40th anniversary raised the profile of the event, but its success was due in large part to a partnership with the ever-popular Haney Farmer’s Market, and good luck in benefiting from one of the first sunny days of Spring.

Eileen Dwillies, Market Manager of the Haney Farmer’s Market Society said, “What an exciting Earth Day for the vendors of the Haney Farmers Market.  Good weather, lively entertainment and early vegetables brought smiles to the faces of our customers.  The collaboration and hard work of the steering committee paid off.”

Culinary Blossoms at Earth Day 2012's Haney Farmer's Market
Culinary Blossoms serves up delicious treats at the Haney Farmer’s Market

The partnership between Earth Day and the Haney Farmer’s Market is a natural one and the market is a big draw, especially after a long winter. Everyone was well-organized and prepared so we kept our fingers crossed for the weather. The beautiful day was the clincher.

Success was also due to the strong level of support from the District of Maple Ridge, Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Parks and Leisure Services staff and staff from the ACT. Thank you!

In past years RMRS organized Earth Day festivities to coincide with composter bin distributions and other recycling initiatives. A few years ago we passed the torch to the CEED Centre Society, and the event outgrew the CEED site and moved to the downtown park.  This celebration was really a return to roots for us!

We appreciate the partnership with the Haney Farmer’s Market, the CEED Centre Society, Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association, Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition, Adopt-A-Block, Maple Ridge Library, “C” is for Comedy Events, and everyone else who worked so hard on Earth Day this year. It was everything we wanted our 40th celebration to be!

More photos posted on our Facebook Page.

Top photo of the SFU Cheerleading Flash Mob and the following gorgeous photos were taken by the talented Karen Learmonth of Amber Light Photography:

Ridge Meadows Recycling 40th Anniversary Cake & VIPs at Earth Day 2012
(L-R): Councillor Judy Dueck, Councillor Cheryl Ashlie, Councillor Al Hogarth, Pitt Meadows Deputy Mayor Doug Bing, MP Randy Kamp, RMRS Director Leigh Hodgins, Councillor Corisa Bell, RMRS President Dennis Kinsey, RMRS Director Carol Botting (Seated, L-R): MLA Marc Dalton, MLA Michael Sather, Maple Ridge Mayor Ernie Daykin Photo by Amber Light Photography


Childrens' Crafts at Earth Day 2012
Childrens’ Crafts at Earth Day 2012 Photo by Amber Light Photography


Bear Aware at Earth Day 2012
Bear Aware Display Photo by Amber Light Photography


Maple Ridge Library's Storytime Corner at Earth Day 2012
Maple Ridge Library’s Storytime Corner in the ACT Photo by Amber Light Photography


RMRS Character Cutouts at Earth Day 2012
RMRS Characters celebrate 40 Years of Recycling! Photo by Amber Light Photography


"Green" Baby Disco at Earth Day 2012
“Green” Baby Disco at the Freecycle in the ACT Photo by Amber Light Photography


Earth Day 2012 Presentation for Oct.3, 2012 Community Festivals Network meeting