By LeRae Haynes –
In the four years he has worked at Central Cariboo Disposal Services (CCDS), Barkley Baird said he has seen an enormous and encouraging increase in recycling options, awareness, and participation. “Recycling is ten times better than it was four years ago when I started here—everybody’s doing such a great job recycling,” he said.
He operates the big recycling baler at CCDS, using a John Deere and a forklift, baling five days a week, six to eight hours a day. The neatly stacked mountains of recycling bales are regularly trucked to the lower mainland and beyond for their next phase.
The baled recycled materials come from manned transfer stations in the area where there are bins or mega bags for sorted recyclables, and from curbside pickup.
Barkely explained that each CCDS truckload dumps 300-500 curbside recycling bins in the baler room per load. “Our curbside pickup is Monday to Thursday; a single truck load will result in six bales,” he said. “Takes me about an hour and a half.
“The Cariboo Regional District has such great programs in place,” he added. “We have mega bags at the manned 150 Mile House, Frost Creek, and Wildwood transfer sites, and recycling bins here at this location—all with someone on hand to answer questions and provide any help needed.”
He also explained that Styrofoam, glass, light plastic bags – anything that should be kept out of curbside recycle bins can go to the transfer station nearest you, adding that they send glass recyclables to United Concrete to be turned into sand blasting material. When possible he pulls out returnable bottles that come in with recyclables and returns them to Amanda’s Enterprises as a donation for kids’ sports groups.
Barkley said he finds his job rewarding and satisfying. “I look forward to coming to work every day,” he said. “I like knowing that I’m doing something bigger than myself, and if I could say anything I’d say, ‘You guys are doing great! You’re asking questions and wanting to know how to recycle better: that makes my job even better.’
“We’re seeing an encouraging difference between the volume in the average garbage bin and the volume in an average recycle bin,” he said. “When I first started here, a curbside recycle bin might be a quarter full. Now they’re often full with the lids up. There’s less and less going to landfill, which is helping out everybody—helping the Earth itself.”
LeRae Haynes is a freelance writer, song writer, community co-ordinator for Success by 6, member of Perfect Match dance band, and instigator of lots of music with kids.