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Let’s Talk Trash: It takes a village to bash trash

“To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash.”
Cadet sergeant Alex Hoffman [left] and Dan Koopman started to fill a bin during Trash Bash earlier this month.

Walking along your favourite trail and being greeted by a stained sofa is deflating. It can be easy to jump to the reactions of frustration, anger and even sadness.

Last week, in qathet, some chose to jump to action instead. As Bill Nye the science guy said: “To leave the world better than you found it, sometimes you have to pick up other people’s trash.”

Rather than take the seat of judge and jury, why not funnel our time and energy into making things right? This can be inevitably complex when the knot we are unravelling has many strings, including educational and socioeconomic barriers.

Sometimes all we need to know is how to take our next right step forward. Cleanups of beachfronts, alleyways, trails and forests make a direct positive impact in our community. They remove bear attractants, protecting wildlife, and invasive plant species, preventing their spread.

Hazardous materials that could start fires, harm people or toxify sensitive ecosystems are also properly disposed of. It’s hard to argue with the good of such deeds.

Under the blessing of sunny skies, the community came together to beautify and care for our patch of earth on May 13 for Trash Bash. Through funding from qathet Regional District, many donations and the efforts of dedicated groups, organizations and individuals, 6.34 tonnes of trash was recovered, 1.3 tonnes of which will be recycled.

Special shout-outs go to Powell River Army Cadets, City of Powell River, Ministry of Forests, conservation officer Leyland Klassen, the Community First Aid team, the ATV club, Dan Koopman, Bill Hopkins, Western Forest Products, Quality Foods, Save-On-Foods, 32 Lakes, Kelly’s Health Shop, Coastal Cookery, Patricia Theatre, River City Coffee, Aaron Vending, VIU Culinary Arts program, Augusta Recyclers, Margaret Timothy, Theo Angell, Oceanne Bourque and Brian Drezet.

If you find yourself suddenly inspired to clean up a dump site you’ve noticed as you walk about our beautiful region, it’s not too late. A limited number of free disposal vouchers are available from qathet Regional District issued through Let’s Talk Trash. To see if your location qualifies, email [email protected].

People can also contact the team if they come across ocean plastic washed up on our beloved shores. Many of these are recyclable by using our Ocean Plastics Depot. Training is required prior to first drop off.

Those enjoying the back forty can contribute to their cleanup by identifying dump sites through the TrashOut app. Available on all smartphones, this app GPS locates photos taken through it, along with asking a few questions to describe the nature, amount and accessibility of the site.

Geo-trashing is the result. Others with time and vehicles can then locate and bring trash in for disposal.

Stewardship of the planet can sometimes mean cleaning up after others who have yet to realize the interconnectedness of all things.

Let’s Talk Trash is contracted by qathet Regional District to deliver its waste reduction education program. For more information, email [email protected] or go to