GUF gets going

Local girl Jana Gainor is back from living in the United Kingdom and ready to get the Fort up to speed.

Jana Gainor is the new recycling coordinator for Greening Up Fort St. James (GUF) and helped put together the new informative signs at the cardboard and paper bins in town.

Local girl Jana Gainor is back from living in the United Kingdom and ready to get the Fort up to speed.

Gainor is the new recycling coordinator for Greening Up Fort St. James (GUF).

A busy mother of two young children, she returned to the Fort after living in the United Kingdom for four years, where she met her husband.

Living in Europe, Gainor feels she got to see good recycling programs at work, and so she wanted to give her hometown the same kind of services and opportunities she had overseas.

“It’s exactly the perfect job for me,” says Gainor.

Her new job has involved trying to educate people and local businesses about the new recycling bins GUF has put in for cardboard and mixed paper near the fire station. She has also visited the hospital and schools now to get them on board.

Gainor created signs for businesses to put up in their windows to show customers they are recycling their cardboard and paper, and has put large information signs in place at the drop-off bins as well.

GUF has also hired Mel Chesnutt as the bin manager for the new bins. Chesnutt locks the bins overnight, removes garbage and other contaminants and ensures the bins are well-packed.

Since hiring Chesnutt, there has been a 40 per cent increase in paper and cardboard fitting in the bins, which is critical, as the bins are very expensive to empty, and condensing as much content into the space as possible maximizes the return from the bins.

Both Chesnutt and Gainor emphasized the need for recyclers to ensure they are recycling correctly, putting only corrugated cardboard and cardboard egg cartons in the cardboard bins – ”you need to look at it sideways to see the lines (to make sure it’s corrugated),” says Chesnutt – and paper board like in cereal boxes and toilet paper rolls goes in the mixed paper bins.

The bins are unlocked between 7:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. for use and the large signs next to the bins should answer most questions people have.

Chesnutt says she has seen a lot of improvement in people’s recycling since she started a month ago and says “it’s too bad when people go through the work to bring (the recycling) down but don’t sort it properly.”

Boxes need to be broken down, and any styrofoam or other contaminants need to be removed from the box.

The bins have been picked up three times so far, diverting almost six metric tonnes from the landfill.

“We’re just really happy with how it’s been going,” says Gainor.

Now that these bins are in place and are being used, GUF hopes to eventually expand their recycling services, but funding will be needed to do it.

There is a lot involved, says Gainor, and it costs money to ship the recycling, so the group is also looking into getting a bailer.

A bailer is a machine which would compact the recyclable materials.

By condensing the materials, shipping would be much more cost-efficient and this might help make the recycling more self-sustaining.

The group is currently assessing the costs of a bailer and the costs of renting space to store the bailer and the materials before shipping. Any community members who might have a space or know of someone with affordable commercial space for the community group, should contact Jana Gainor with “any and all ideas.”

GUF will be putting in a new funding proposal soon, as the one they are currently operating on ends in March. The group wants to continue the project and expand it.

“Everyone should be able to recycle without driving to Prince,” says Gainor. She also believes having a prominent and successful recycling program is good for tourism, because it helps give the town a more “green” feel and shows pride in the community.

“I just want everyone to see how good it could be,” says Gainor.

To contact Jana Gainor, email her at: j_gainor@telus.net or call her at: 778-978-0466