Cycling as an individual activity is quite eco-friendly, but given the critical situation we’re facing, between issues like climate change and shrinking wilderness, we should always be trying to do better, and there are actually some easy ways we can.
Often I’ll pocket home-made ‘energy cookies’ (recipe coming!) in a resealable bag that gets used many times, but sometimes you run out of cookies, or are on a longer ride where packaged bars are more practical, or a gel is more appropriate in a race than trying to swallow a bar.
The Dump Is Filling Up
Typically these end up in the landfill, which isn’t great as these packages just take up space and will be there for thousands of years. Not only is Vancouver Island a finite space, but so is the planet.
This is also affecting cyclists directly – here in Victoria the Hartland Landfill is running short on space, and as a result we’re going to lose some popular trails like Who’s Your Daddy as the landfill expands to make more space for human trash.
While reducing consumption is the best option, a simple way to divert trash is to recycle these packages, and it’s never been easier!
One of the most convenient options is London Drugs. They’re working on a program committed to recycling nearly all the packaging that they sell. This includes foil energy bar wrappers!
I’ve got a couple bins in my kitchen to collect foil wrappers, as well as soft plastic, and drop these off at London Drugs when I go shopping. It’s hardly a chore, and I’ve been able to reduce my trash significantly – in the last 4 years, I’ve added one grocery bag of trash to the landfill.
I’m not saying everyone can get their trash that low, but most people can probably reduce what goes to the landfill significantly! And this would mean not only is land and forest left alone around Hartland, but also reduces the demand for oil and other resources, as these are recycled back into the system.
A Few Options
There are a few places to drop off your recycling:
- The London Drugs Green Deal program is probably the easiest, it’s free and they also will take soft plastic, styrofoam, electronics, batteries, appliances, and much more.
- PMD Recycling is the OG recycling company, they have a location in Sooke, and several in-town Saturday pick-up locations on a rotating schedule each month, and they can take just about anything, but there are small fees.
- Island Return-It in Esquimalt also can take a wide range of items, but doesn’t appear to accept foil wrappers at this time, and I believe is free.
- The CRD Blue Box Curbside Program also may take more than you realize, including non-dairy tetra-paks and hard plastics, so you don’t even have to leave the house!
- Also note some companies welcome returning their packaging, here’s and example with Gu.
If you live in other areas, try a search on recycling in your city, you may be surprised at what’s available!
That’s a Wrap on Wrappers!
All of us can usually take more steps to make a positive impact, and this is a pretty easy one. If nearly every cyclist in the CRD were to practice this, it’d add up quickly and hopefully will reduce our landfill requirements, and leave more trails for nature and riding.
Good luck organizing your new recycling program, send a note or post in the comments below if you have any further tips – keep cycling and recycling!