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Sorting Through the Recycling News – May, 2019 Newsletter now online…

Recently we have heard from concerned residents about news stories they are hearing about recycling going through a crisis – here are a couple of examples:

“Is Canada’s recycling industry broken?” (Global News, April 29, 2019)

“Reduce, reuse, recycle, rejected: Why Canada’s recycling industry is in crisis mode” (The Globe & Mail, May 15, 2019).

People had heard that after China closed their doors to overly-contaminated materials, there was nowhere for it to go, and their well-sorted recyclables were going straight into the garbage.

While this may unfortunately be true for other municipalities in North America, it is NOT the case in British Columbia, and definitely not the case in Maple Ridge. 

British Columbia is a leader in the recycling industry. Our stewardship programs, regulated and reviewed by the provincial government, are designed to be 100% funded by the manufacturers and retailers of the products themselves. Almost all items we accept at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depotare part of these programs, also known as Extended Producer Responsibilityprograms, or EPR.

Recycle BC is the not-for-profit organization responsible for residential packaging and paper product recycling throughout British Columbia. They address the China ban and what happens to collected recycling on their website.

There are two big reasons why we are largely unaffected by the shifts shutting down recycling programs in other parts of the continent:
1. BC has a local plastic processing plant – Merlin Plastics, located on Annacis Island
2. Recycle BC supports multi-stream recycling, which results in a cleaner product, that is more valuable to processors and easier to market. They also require their collectors to keep contamination levels below 3%.

Global News (finally) addressed how we are different (and mainly unaffected by recent changes) in a subsequent portions of their coverage –  “Canada’s recycling industry is on life support – here’s how to fix it.” and “B.C. better positioned to handle Chinese recycling ban.” CBC News also produced a video addressing “Why B.C. is better at recycling than the rest of Canada.”

While this industrial shift is a major setback to many recycling programs around the world, what will hopefully emerge is a better understanding of how the recycling industry works, the development of local markets and local jobs in the green sector, and more people taking responsibility for the waste they produce.

Also in this newsletter…

  • Our next Repair Cafe is part of the City of Maple Ridge’s inaugural Car Free Day event on Sunday, June 16. Learn more about this NEW event and bring your broken stuff to the Repair Cafe from 12-4pm in front of the ACT Arts Centre – next to the Electric Vehicle display!
  • Meet our Summer Students! Thanks to the federal Canada Summer Jobs program, we have two Community Education & Special Event Assistants joining us for the summer!
  • A local “Green Drinks” initiative is launching on Wednesday, May 29!
  • The Community Network has launched Pathways Community Services Resource Directory
  • Check out the action in our Celebrate Earth Day event video!!
  • Finally, check out all the amazing events & activities happening in our community  –  so much going on!!
Click to view an online copy of the RMRS May, 2019 Newsletter. This and past newsletters are archived on our website.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletters & get all our recycling updates, news, and tips emailed straight to your inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.


Repair Cafes Year 2 Launches Saturday, February 9!

On Saturday, February 9, Ridge Meadows Recycling Society is launching their second year of Repair Cafés at the Maple Ridge Library from 11am – 2pm with funding provided by Vancity’s enviroFund grant. 

Repair Cafés are pop-up events where residents can bring their broken items (small appliances, jewelry, clothing, small toys or furniture, etc.) and there are tools, materials, and volunteer expert “fixers” available to help residents learn to repair their stuff!

“Last year’s Repair Cafés were a huge success,” says Leanne Koehn, Community Engagement for Ridge Meadows Recycling Society and Coordinator of the Repair Cafés, “We introduced the concept of Repair Cafés to our community, gathered a strong group of talented volunteer ‘fixers,’ and kept many, many items out of the landfill! We are now able to help people from other areas who want to start up their own Repair Cafés!

In 2018, the group held 8 Repair Cafés in 6 different venues, partnering with the Maple Ridge Library, the Ridge Meadows Seniors’ Society, the Celebrate Earth Day festival, the Haney Farmers Market, and GETI Fest. The Cafés were initiated in large part with funding from the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors program, donations from Haney Builders, and media sponsorship from the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows NEWS.

The goals of Maple Ridge Repair Cafes are to:

  1. Bring back repair into local society in a modern way
  2. Maintain repair expertise and share and pass on valuable knowledge and skills that have been learned over lifetimes, building individual and community capacity
  3. Promote social cohesion in the local community by connecting neighbours
  4. Repair and reuse items that would’ve ended up in the landfill
  5. Encourage people to value and appreciate their possessions

So far, the community has brought 400 items to be fixed by Maple Ridge Repair Café’s 50 volunteers, including 39 lamps, 20 clocks, 17 pairs of pants, 8 bracelets, 5 toasters, 3 stools, and a ceramic chicken!

Get Involved!
Know someone who has repair skills, wants to learn them, or just wants to help out? Send them to the online form at or email to volunteer as a “Fixer” or a “Helper” and become a Repair Café hero!

To learn more, visit or visit the Maple Ridge Repair Café Page on Facebook, email or phone Leanne at 604-463-5545.

Other Flexible Plastic Packaging Now Accepted AT DEPOT ONLY

While SOFT & HARD plastic can still go into your RED Recycling Box curbside, there is an in-between category that until now has had to go in the garbage.

NOT ANYMORE!! Save up your FLEXIBLE PLASTIC PACKAGING and bring it to the Recycling Depot(Note: this new category is NOT accepted in your curbside recycling program)

Items included in this new category include:
Plastic Stand-Up Pouches & Bags, Zipper-Locked Plastic Pouches & Bags, Crinkly Plastic Bags & Wrappers, Cellophane, Net & Woven Plastic Bags, Plastic Wrappers (non-stretchy), and non-food protective plastic packaging. See photo above for examples!

NOT included in this program are paper-lined plastic or plastic-lined paper, plastic squeeze tubes, plastic strapping, or PVC/Vinyl.

The Recycle BC website has more information about this new program.


Single Use Plastic – RMRS Position Statement & Reduction Strategies

Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s Position Statement on the Reduction of Single-Use Plastic Items

Single use disposable plastic items including take out containers such as cups, plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives, plastic straws and stirrers, plastic bags and plastic water bottles pose a serious environmental problem around the world.

These items are used once and are often discarded in our streets and parks.  Plastic items do not go away, they simply break down into increasingly smaller pieces.

Plastics fragments can release toxic chemicals into the environment and can be a serious health risk for humans and animals.

It is time for all of us, including both residents and businesses in Maple Ridge, to get serious about reducing the consumption of single use disposable plastic items.

  1. REDUCE – Choose to avoid single use items. “Just say NO to plastic straws.”  Support regional strategies and/or bans on single use items.
  2. REUSE – Choose to bring your own coffee cup or shopping bag. “Just say NO to plastic grocery bags and disposable cups.”
  3. RETHINK – Choose the environment and our future over convenience.


Worldwide attention

Lately, there has been a lot of focus on single-use plastic issues in the media. It’s encouraging that people are becoming more aware about this issue and taking action.

Here are some links if you are interested in learning more:
Dialogue on Plastic Waste: online consultation for moving Canada toward zero plastic waste
City of Victoria wins court battle over right to ban plastic bags
Starbucks to Stop Using Disposable Plastic Straws by 2020
Hyatt Announces Global Efforts to Reduce Single Use Plastics
Australia Takes Stand On Single-Use Plastic Bags
Seattle Becomes First Major US City to Ban Plastic Straws & Utensils
Mumbai Bans Plastic Bags & Bottles
By the Numbers: How the World is Banning Single-Use Plastics

If you’re looking for resources, the City of Vancouver has adopted a Single-Use Plastic Reduction Strategy and there is a guide to help Restaurants and Eateries “Reduce Plastic & Benefit Your Business.”

The Problem With Plastic

Did you know every piece of plastic ever created still exists on our planet today? This is because plastic never goes away, it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.

There are a number of issues with having this much plastic in our environment:
1. It never goes away.
2. It absorbs chemicals. This means recycled plastic cannot be made into food-grade containers and absorbed chemicals in non-recycled plastic may be released into the environment or any animal that ingests it.
3. Animals of all sizes mistake pieces of plastic as food, both on land and in the water.
4. Chemicals absorbed by animals affect their endocrine (hormonal) systems and can be passed to their offspring or passed along the food chain if they are eaten by a larger animal.



Recycling Programs

At the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot, we are able to accept most plastic packaging through Recycle BC’s recycling stewardship program, including:
Hard Plastic Packaging
Soft Plastic Bags & Overwrap
Other Flexible Plastic Packaging
Styrofoam (white & coloured)

But look around you – how many other plastic items do you see that don’t fit into the “packaging” category and are not recyclable? What could you use as an alternative? How much plastic do you come in contact with each day?

Plastic Free July

Annually, our summer students take on the Plastic Free July Challenge, where they attempt to go a whole month without using any single-use plastic. Any plastic they are unable to avoid goes into their “dilemma bag” which they unpack and reflect on during a Facebook Livestream session at the end of the month. Check out their Ridge Meadows Plastic Free July Facebook Group!

Movie Screenings

Ridge Meadows Recycling also has local screening rights to some great movies about this issue:

  1. The Clean Bin Project
    Clean Bin Project“Is it possible to live completely waste free? In this multi-award winning, festival favourite, partners Jen and Grant go head to head in a competition to see who can swear off consumerism and produce the least garbage Their light-hearted competition is set against a darker examination of the problem waste.  Even as Grant and Jen start to garner interest in their project, they struggle to find meaning in their minuscule influence on the large-scale environmental impacts of our ‘throw-away society’. Described as An Inconvenient Truth meets Super Size Me, The Clean Bin Project features laugh out loud moments, stop motion animations, and unforgettable imagery. Captivating interviews with renowned artist, Chris Jordan and TED Lecturer Captain Charles Moore, make this film a fun and inspiring call to individual action that speaks to crowds of all ages.”
  2. A Plastic Ocean:
    “In the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre our researchers found more plastic than plankton. A Plastic Ocean documents the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us.” Filmed in multiple locations around the world, “A Plastic Ocean” fearlessly tackles one of the largest and most wide-spread problems in our modern world.

Email if you are interested in setting up screenings for your school, office, or community group. We also recommend “The Lorax” to introduce the topic to younger audiences.


Take Action!

There are also a number of easy ways for YOU to start reducing your use of single-use plastic TODAY. Check out these tips & ideas:

Thank you for choosing the environment over convenience!

Introducing Other Flexible Plastic Packaging – June, 2018 Recycling Report Now Online

In this newsletter, a reminder of the designated Canada Day stat holiday on MONDAY JULY 2 – NO RECYCLING PICKUP, an invitation to join us for a public tour of the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot, our summer students prep for Plastic Free July, and an introduction to a NEW category of items accepted at the Recycling Depot – “Other Flexible Plastic Packaging”…

Click to view a copy of the RMRS June, 2018 Newsletter. This and past newsletters are archived on our website.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletters & get all our recycling updates, news, and tips emailed straight to your inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.

Celebrate Earth Day 2018 Videos!!

Celebrate Earth Day 2018 was a fabulous event thanks to our many volunteers, sponsors, supporters, organizers, and participants!!

The sun shone on April 21, 2018 as the community celebrated “DIY: Make it, Grow it, Fix it, Share it!”


We also had SO MANY great Earth Day Lead-up events and thanks to Christina Waschko, we also have a highlight video of these!


See you on April 13, 2019 as Earth Day cultivates “Heal(thy) Community, Heal(thy) Self”!

TEXTILES Accepted at the Maple Ridge Recycling Depot!


Reusable AND Non-Reusable Textiles Welcome!

Bring your bag of single socks, your worn-out rags, and all other textiles to the Depot! #outofthelandfill #intothedepot #thinkbeforeyouthrow

Note: Moldy, paint-stained or oil-covered clothes, as well as old items you have already used as rags cannot be re-used or recycled and should be placed in your garbage bin for disposal.

Celebrate Earth Day & Repair Cafe on Saturday, April 21!

Don’t miss the awesome activities at the Celebrate Earth Day festival coming up on Saturday, April 21! Our “DIY: Make it, Grow it, Fix it, Share it” theme includes TINKERbell Station & our 2nd Repair Cafe in the Greg Moore Youth Centre (south-east corner of Memorial Peace Park), the Familly Freecycle and Cycle Recycle Free Bike Draw, a Special Haney Farmers’ Market, a Food Truck Festival, interactive booths & activities, entertainment stages & roving performers & flash mobs and lots more!! It’s only on from 10am – 2pm, so come early, come hungry, and bring your broken stuff for repair!

“We Can Fix That!” – Maple Ridge’s First Repair Cafes Are A Go!!

Ridge Meadows Recycling Society has received funding from Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to organize Maple Ridge’s first Repair Cafés. Repair Cafes are pop-up events where residents can bring their broken items (small appliances, jewelry, clothing, small toys or furniture, etc.) and there are tools, materials, and volunteer “fixers” available to help residents learn to repair their stuff!

To learn more, check out our Repair Cafe Info Page, learn more about Volunteering for the Cafes, or take a look at the Tools and Materials we need to make the cafes happen!

Our first Repair Cafe is happening on Saturday, March 24, from 10am – 2pm at the Maple Ridge Seniors’ Activity Centre – hope to see you (& your broken stuff) there!!

Happy New Year! RMRS January, 2108 Newsletter Now Online

Happy 2018! We’ve got lots in store this year!

Our January newsletter includes a call for Volunteers for our upcoming Repair Cafes, information on Celebrate Earth Day (“DIY: Make it, Grow it, Fix it, Share it”) and the Earth Day Poetry & Photo Contests, environmental articles from 2017, and lots of great upcoming community events!

Click to view a copy of the RMRS January, 2018 Newsletter. This and past newsletters are archived on our website.

Subscribe to our monthly newsletters & get all our recycling updates, news, and tips emailed straight to your inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.