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VIDEO: Ucluelet Secondary students visit Tofino Recycling Depot

Student learn what happens to our recycling once it gets picked up from the curb.
Ucluelet Secondary School Sustainability Studies 12 Class on a site visit to the Tofino Recycling Depot. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Chris Bird of SonBird Refuse and Recycling took Ucluelet Secondary School teacher Kevin Nixon and his Sustainability Studies 12 Class on a site visit of the Tofino Recycling Depot on Nov. 30.

The class got to see where the recycling goes, how it’s sorted, and where it goes afterwards.

“We only see trucks on our recycling days pick-up the materials and we never actually know what is done with it,” said Nixon.

Grade 10 student Emmett Wellman was surprised to learn that 30 per cent of the recycling that ends up at the depot doesn’t get recycled because it’s unclean.

“I also learned that a lot of what they do here is a labour of love and they don’t make a lot of money off of it but they do it because the community wants them too,” said Wellman.

Sierra Griffin told the Westerly the Sustainability Studies 12 class is planning on launching a recycling program at the school.

“We are currently only recycling juice boxes and cans. We don’t have paper recycling and we’re hoping to start that because we want to recycle almost everything. We do have a lot of waste at the school,” she said, adding that an industrial size garbage bin gets collected every two weeks.

Bird was happy to see students taking action on the issue.

“Education is key and community participation is key to making this successful,” Bird said.

“We don’t have the manpower to do this sorting at this level. We need this contamination rate to get down to three per cent. People need to read the labels on the cans,” he said.

Nixon said his class was excited about re-establishing the recycling program in the school of about 160 students.

“This particular trip today was to get the school back on track to have a robust and vibrant recycling program, which we haven’t had in a number of years,” Nixon said.