Two west coast environmental ambassadors for the BC Used Oil Management Association and Tire Stewardship BC stopped by Castlegar on Wednesday, Aug. 7 as part of a summer-long tour of southern B.C.
Nadine Hoyt and Carmen Ang make up half of a two-team initiative visiting recycling collection facilities throughout the province, generating public awareness of the importance of keeping used oil, used antifreeze and scrap tires from becoming part of landfills.
“We usually speak to the service manager or parts department people to get feedback on the program,” said Ang, who had just been doing so at the Canadian Tire on Columbia Ave. “We do a verbal survey with them and also do community events and meet with various stakeholders.”
The vehicle the ladies are in is hard to miss, with an eye-catching black and white, oil-splattered paint scheme.
Hoyt said there are a total of six oil collection facilities and 11 tire facilities in Castlegar to visit, before moving on to other communities. She estimated they would be in town about a day and a half.
One thing that continues to be a common theme with used oil collection facilities, they said, is that people are dropping off oil outside regular business hours, which can lead to spills and oil making its way into the environment.
“Even a single drop of oil can contaminate a million drops of water,” said Ang. “It’s important to recover every drop.”
Canadian Tire technician Kerry Brown also said there is an important economic factor for the company is recycling.
“We are the number one [oil] recycler in the area,” said Brown. “We have a 500 gallon tank that is emptied every two weeks in the summer. We make enough on oil and plastic recycling to pay for all of our bulk oil sales.” Canadian Tire also takes in plastic containers that have been used to store oil.
The two university students started work in May and will be on the road through the end of August. Another team is in the northern areas of B.C. Between the two, the goal is to visit about 700 facilities and work with them to increase collection rates.