Local Ideas and Solutions to Powell River's Plastic Waste Futures

Waste incinerator in Powell River series - #7

The Powell River area, like every area, is awash in a sea of plastic. All of it goes through the hands of Augusta Recyclers on Hwy 101 just south of the city limits sooner of later. Augusta offers 'free' disposal of all types of plastics. From there the tonnes of plastic crap that are the by-product of our combined consumer culture's consumption get bundled up and barged off to another waste management and recycling company in and around Seattle named Rabanco. Most of it is then goes through the plastic shredders and becomes a product that gets sold to one of the hundreds of other companies making stuff like plastic lumber out of it. The rest, along with tonnes of other waste we generate goes on to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill.

The Powell River Regional District has as its 'vision' a goal of Zero Waste. They plan  to allow no plastic or paper bags in the future – bring your own - and to negotiate with local businesses the reduction of and outright ban on plastic packaging then to have the retailers back-haul the glass and plastic that remains. Excellent ideas because reduced consumption and waste production is the only way forward out of the sea of crap we're all drowning in. There is an important role for government regulations in this area, but each of us plays the biggest role because it's our choices, as individuals, that determine the overall size of our community's footprint.

Meanwhile, as we roll on toward our 'vision' of creating zero waste by reducing our consumption in the first place, barge loads of our plastic waste are being wasted. We could and should be actually recycling our plastics and re-manufacturing them into local products and materials that create local jobs in the process. Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastic and reprocessing the material into useful products, it's not rocket science. There are many companies that produce and sell plastic shredders and melting vessels of all different sizes. Just as the  'Let's Talk Trash' group is now studying the viability in-vessel community size composters they could be looking into the viability of small business/regional government partnerships in plastic waste futures.

A few days ago i went to Rob Higgin's place down on Donkersley Rd. Rob is a long time local entrepreneur and man of many talents. One of his very neat businesses is artistic concrete products made from molds he has designed and built. Check out some of his stuff here. Rob is very interested in adapting his process to make recycled plastic products. Rob can be reached by email at [ art.in.concrete @ gmail.com ] he will be only to glad to explore your ideas and solutions to our local plastic waste futures.