As part of a pilot program, the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) is opening an ocean plastics depot at the Sechelt Landfill on Friday, April 28. This new program is being implemented in partnership with the Ocean Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization.
Through the ocean plastics depot pilot program, the SCRD will collect foam filled tires, marine rope and netting, plastic barrels, hard plastics (floats), and dock/beach foam from shoreline clean ups.
“Currently on the Sunshine Coast, there is no option for recycling ocean plastics and dock foam,” says Marc Sole, SCRD Manager of Solid Waste Services. “SCRD staff have been pursuing options to recycle ocean plastics and marine debris materials in order to help decrease the amount of plastic washing up on beaches, reduce our carbon footprint, and importantly maximize space at the landfill.”
The landfill is currently estimated to be at capacity by 2025.
Ocean plastics take up a lot of space at the landfill, particularly foam originating from docks and beach cleanups. This program will allow for these materials to be recycled instead of taking up valuable landfill space.
For example, in 2022, the SCRD accepted just under 16 tons of beach and dock foam at the landfill, which used approximately 6000 square meters of space (around three tennis courts) which is the equivalent of eight days of landfill life.
Materials collected at the landfill depot will be transported to Ocean Legacy’s marine plastic processing facility in Richmond. At the facility, the plastics are washed, dried, shredded, heated, cut, and turned into plastic pellets. These pellets are recycled into various items including non-structural lumber, benches, and boat parts. The SCRD is joining a network of four operating depots in Powell River, Ucluelet, Port McNeill, and Cumberland.
Learn more about what is collected by visiting www.scrd.ca/ocean-depot.