Vancouver Island companies go green, convert waste into resources

Vancouver Island companies go green, convert waste into resources

WATCH: A ban on recyclables in China has left many municipalities with a backlog of plastics, but one Island-based initiative is trying to change that. Ceilidh Millar reports. 

Patrick Ravary is at the forefront of a green idea that is cutting-edge.

“We have to think better than we have in the past,” Ravary explained.

Ravary is running the Victoria chapter of Chop Value, a Vancouver-based company that turns used-chopsticks into trendy home decor.

“The first question we always get asked is are these chopsticks used,” Ravary said. “That’s the whole point of doing it is recycling something that’s only been used for a 30-minute period.”

Combining a process that uses a water-based resin, high pressure and heat, the company creates a composite material from the bamboo sticks.

They transform the material into products like coasters, wall tiles and table tops.

“In ten restaurants just in downtown Victoria, I’m collecting about 30-40 kilograms of chopsticks in just one week,” Ravary explained.

Chop Value is part of a growing number of entrepreneurs in B.C., and across Vancouver Island, who are capitalizing on sustainability.

“Other nations around the world are starting to innovate and look at waste as a resource,” explained Jill Doucette, executive director of Synergy. “It’s the way of the future.”

Since China banned foreign recyclables in December of last year, it left several municipalities with a backlog of plastics.

In the CRD, they’re able to send the materials to recycling facilities right here in the province where they turn the material into something new like plastic pellets or car bumpers.

It’s not only plastics.

Since its inception, Tire Stewardship B.C. has collected and recycled more than 90 million tires.

The non-profit said if the tires were laid side by side it would be enough to cross Canada nearly ten times.

“The rubber is turned into little tiny particles and then made into products like the resurfacing for playgrounds,” said Rosemary Sutton of Tire Stewardship B.C.

Project Zero, an Island-based start-up program by Synergy, is looking for entrepreneurs who have a vision for turning waste into wonder.

“If we start rethinking material flow and consider every waste as a resource we can create new jobs and create new businesses in our communities,” Doucette explained.

Applications for Project Zero will be accepted until Feb.22.

Ceilidh MillarCeilidh Millar

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