Matt Curtis

Rec centre reexamines recycling

Composting paper towels among changes underway as staff at West Shore Parks and Recreation revamps environmental practices.

Garbage cans stuffed with paper towels will soon be a thing of the past at the West Shore recreation centre.

Staff at West Shore Parks and Recreation are in the process of revamping environmental practices.

One of the major changes is that discarded paper towels will be composted instead of going to the landfill.

“One of our biggest sources of waste here is the paper hand towels. The volume is unbelievable,” said Linda Barnes, WSPR administrator.

Special bins will be placed by towel dispensers to collect the used paper.

The change is one of many in the recreation centre’s strategic plan.

In the two years since the plan was developed, staff have improved energy conservation and waste management. They’ve also conducted a natural systems inventory to help organize ongoing development of the site.

For now the focus is on reducing waste.

Special recycling receptacles and signage will help separate items such as beverage containers, paper and garbage.

One of the first changes this year was an advanced recycling program for the day camp. For the first time, the camp’s kids separated all the waste from their lunches including paper, pop cans, sandwich bags, wrappers and food waste.

Now the facility is working on overhauling its recycling practices and incorporating this sorting system on a larger level.

Matt Curtis, facility maintenance worker, is spearheading the plan to train all staff on the new system.

“The kids are great with the new recycling program. It’s the adults our age that take a little longer to get used to it,” Curtis said.

Now anything that can be recycled at the site will be, including old electronics and cooked food scraps from the cafeteria and the catering centre.

West Shore Parks and Rec contracted reFUSE residential resource recovery to collect recyclables and compostable items. The plan is to use money saved on garbage collection to help cover the costs of added recycling.

All of the new changes will be fully implemented by the end of October.

“We don’t just collect the waste from the facilities we try to help guide them in the process,” said Jason Adams, who founded reFUSE in 2002.

The company also collects recycling from Oak Bay and Panorama rec centres and services the parliament buildings, University of Victoria and Saanich’s municipal hall and police department.

charla@goldstreamgazette.com

Did you know?

n Even before the strategic plan came into place, West Shore Parks and Recreation has been an early adopter of environmental practices, said Linda Barnes, West Shore Parks and Recreation administrator.

n For more than 10 years, the recreation centre has used heat generated by compressors in the arena’s ice plant to help warm the swimming pool.