Members of Greening Up Fort St. James (GUF) Society joined with Overwaitea to attempt to make a paper bale.
Overwaitea bales all of the store’s cardboard with an onsite baler, which compacts the cardboard into square bales, allowing it to store and transport the materials much more efficiently.
Society members transported truckloads of paper from the bins at the bottle depot, shoveled it into the baler in the storage area of the grocery store where an experienced employee crushed the paper.
The end result of this support provided by the local Overwaitea manager was a successful paper bale.
GUF members were under the impression that paper bales were not feasible but at the urging of their coordinator, Jana Gainor, a trial run was organized which proved very successful.
This will allow the society to move forward with short and long term goals to create a more sustainable community.
GUF’s long term vision for Fort St. James and the area is to reduce energy consumption, decrease the ecological foot print of the community, maintain clean air quality, protect drinking aquifer waters, and ensure clean waterways in order to maintain high biodiversity.
This long term vision can only be realized with small consistent steps forward — the successful paper bale is one of those steps into the future.
Currently GUF’s focus is to reduce the volumes of waste that go into the landfill south of Fort St. James.
The society is making efforts to educate community members as to what recycling options exist now in the town and to create more options for recycling.
The group has successfully set up a program for paper and cardboard to be trucked out for reprocessing.
One of the challenges with the program is the cost of transportation which will be significantly reduced if the paper can be baled.
Instead of a truck transporting one to three tonnes of paper it will handle five tonnes reducing costs for handling the paper as well as lowering carbon emissions.
These are small but important steps in achieving GUF‘s long term goals. Baled paper also means the program can handle more volume which reduces landfill waste.
At this time 1,900 hundred tonnes per year of Fort St. James’ waste end up in the landfill. Sixty-three per cent of this could be recycled or composted right here. Thirty-eight metric tonnes of this waste each month is paper product. To date GUF’s paper and cardboard recycling program is capturing eight tonnes a month and since GUF’s program in November 2010, 38 metric tonnes of paper product have been diverted from the landfill.
The next phase of development for the society will be the purchase of a paper baler and a building to house the baler and develop other onsite recycling opportunities
Now GUF and the community of Fort St. James is one paper bale closer to realizing a much bigger dream