WATCH: A hub of recycling in Nanaimo is facing an uncertain future. The non-profit Nanaimo Recycling Exchange sees 1,500 cars through its gates a day but with its lease running out within months the recycling depot isn’t sure what will happen in 2018. Skye Ryan has more.
The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is so busy that cars are lined up around the block as people drop off recyclables and pick up used goods their neighbours are giving away.
"We came here and we just fell in love with the place," says Nanaimo resident Tanya Gruszecki. "We were like I can't believe all this stuff is here."
Gruszecki, who is trying to get her family on a zero-waste lifestyle says she can trim her family's budget and their impact on the environment here. Buying donated goods for pennies on the dollar of what they cost brand new.
"So it's about saving money too," says Gruszecki,"and saving the planet."
The recycling hub is crammed with recycling bins on one side and goods, being dropped off by people who no longer use them on the other. But after 25 years of being at the forefront of recycling its future is uncertain, despite being busier than ever.
"It has now become unsafe," says Executive Director of the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange Jan Hastings. "We can no longer secure the site and keep our product safe. We get break ins every night."
The building is falling apart and the centre's lease is up in March.
"You know it would be a real shame if we did, if the end result is we have to close," says Nanaimo Recycling Exchange Store Manager Lara Gilchrist.
The Nanaimo Recycling Exchange is proposing a new depot be built but it would cost millions, that the non-profit wants the City of Nanaimo to commit to.
"I've heard anywhere from 4.7 to eight million," says Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay.
So the city is looking at all the options that include possibly closing the centre as private recycling companies look to get in on this growing business.
Tanya Gruszecki hopes the Nanaimo Recycling Exchange will stay a part of the city, having started Nanaimo on habit of recycling that now for many has become a lifestyle.