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Zero Waste Initiative at Pender Islands Fall Fair 

The Pender Island Recycling Society (PIRS) partners with the Pender Islands Fall Fair organizing committee to implement a Zero Waste Fall Fair.


Collection stations with bins for recycling, composting and garbage are strategically placed on the fairgrounds. Recycling depot staff and board members assist fairgoers with properly disposing of their recycling and compost, reducing garbage to a minimum. Recyclables are recycled, compostables are composted locally, and garbage is transported to landfill. 

The volume of garbage collected at the Fall Fair has fallen by over 80% since the start of the Zero Waste Initiative.

Many Fall Fair food vendors participate in garbage reduction efforts by serving their food items on porcelain plates or fully compostable paper service products. Another step in the right direction! 

The Fall Fair supper serves approximately 350 dinners on dishes from the depot's dish loan program, further reducing the need for single use dishware.

Water stations are set up at the fair ground and stocked with reusable cups so that fairgoers can access drinking water without needing to purchase it in disposable bottles.

Our Compost/Recycle/Garbage Stations collect only 0.5 bag of garbage, which is an incredible result for such a large community event!

This initiative is generously supported by the CRD's Rethink Waste grant.

Zero Waste Initiative sign by recycling depot staff person Celene Wilde.

Photograph by Davy Rippner

Cloth napkins.jpg

Former PIRS Board Member Ursula Poepel washed and line dried hundreds of napkins after the 2019 Pender Islands Fall Fair dinner.

Photograph by Niki Roberts

See and read more about the 2019 Pender Islands Fall Fair below »

Depot Tours & Community Presentations

Pender Island Recycling Depot staff regularly talk with community groups about recycling by way of depot tours

(e.g. Pender Islands School K-G1 tour) and off site presentations to Pender Island Community groups (e.g. Newcomers Club).

Contact us if you would like to arrange a depot tour for your community group.


Pender Islands School K-G1 Depot Tour

Pender Island Recycling Depot staff member, Niki Roberts (green sweater), leads K-G1 school group on a tour of the recycling depot. 

2017 Fall Fair
2016 Fall Fair
2019 Pender Islands Fall Fair

Congratulations to our Pender community for another successful Fall Fair! The love that goes into growing nourishing food and beautiful flowers, and raising healthy live stock was evident. Celebrating our achievements as a community was spectacular.


Many food vendors used compostable food service products, at an extra cost to themselves, so please thank them heartily for that! These compostable products were collected and managed at one of the Recycle-Compost-Garbage stations staffed by the depot. The garbage component at these stations is by far the smallest.


Drinking water stations with ceramic mugs were set up by the Epicentre, by Island Savings, and by PIRS, which helped to reduce the number of single use plastic containers used at the fair. Several hundred people were served at the Fall Fair barbeque on dishes from the recycle depot’s dish loan program, thus avoiding paper napkins, disposable plates, and cutlery. 


What happens to Fall Fair waste after the fair is over you ask? Most of the compostable material generated by fair goers, such as paper napkins and cups, was taken home by Murray Vasilev to his home compost system. PIRS Board member Ursula Poepel collected leftover food scraps from the barbeque dinner to feed to local pigs. She also shredded the corn cobs from the barbeque so that they could be used as garden mulch and she washed all the cloth napkins used at the barbeque.

The commercially compostable material, such as the drinking cups made of PLA (which is a fermented plant based starch) were shredded and burned. In the past, PIRS shipped PLA items off-island to a commercial composting facility, but we feel that the carbon emissions caused by the transportation of this material first to Victoria and then to Vancouver is too much.


Thank you to the creative individuals who participated in the Recycling category at the Fall Fair. This category always features an inspiring display of creativity and function. Check out the photos of some of this year’s submissions and winners below.


Thank you to the PIRS staff who kept the garbage/compost/recycle stations in order, and to Celene Wilde for her beautiful hand painted signs, and to the PIRS board for volunteering their time to engage and inform the public at our Exhibition Tent. To those of you who stopped by the PIRS exhibition area to make a reusable shopping bag from a new-to-you t-shirt: Way to go! These bags will be handy as single use plastic shopping bags are reduced or eliminated. Thank you to the kind folks at the Nu-To-Yu who set aside the T-shirts for this project!

2018 Pender Islands Fall Fair
Community, local food, the arts, and the environment

This year’s Fall Fair was an amazing success! It showcased the values many Pender Islanders and visitors hold dear, including community, local agriculture, the arts, and the environment.


The Pender Island Recycling Depot set up two staffed and one unstaffed Compost/Recycle/Garbage stations, where we collected 7 large bags of recyclables (e.g., refundable beverage containers, paper, plastic bags, plastic cups); 5 large bags of residential compost (e.g., paper plates, napkins and food scraps), 1/3 bag of commercially compostable material (PLA plastic cups), and, drum roll please…less than 1/5th of a bag of garbage.

Murray Vasilev took the residential compostables home to his own compost system and Davy Rippner took home the commercially compostable material to burn. Sources of garbage at the C/R/G stations were minimal and included candy wrappers and gum.

To promote the first “R” – Reduce - and minimize packaging, the Recycling Depot set up two water stations and Island Savings set up a third (thank you Island Savings!), which were each equipped with two totes of mugs from our Dish Loan program. Note that you can bring your own water bottle to the fair if you like and refill it at any station.

The Fall Fair dinner served over 350 people and this feast was served on china plates, cutlery and cloth napkins from the Depot’s dish loan program. PIRS board member, Ursula Poepel, collected 10 buckets of compost from the dinner, including 8 buckets of corn cobs, 1 bucket of bread, and one bucket of meat and veg. The bread, meat and vegetables were fed to local pigs; the corn cobs were left for the deer to graze on and were then shredded and added as mulch to Ursula’s garden.

The Depot provided composting and recycling information at our Exhibition Tent and our board members assisted fairgoers in restructuring T-Shirts into shopping bags. Thank you to the Nu-To-Yu volunteers for supplying the T-shirts. The bags will be very handy as more and more stores phase out single use plastic shopping bags.

Thank you and congratulations to all of you who entered the Recycling/Reuse category of the 2018 Pender Islands Fall Fair. Dave Robert’s stunning rocking chair won the Karl Hamson Recycling Trophy for Best Overall Submission; first prize in the 13 years or older category went to Eden Davies for her musical instrument; Linda Pink won second prize for an attractive bib, which was dapper enough for an evening out; and the third prize went to Kerry Karram for her sweet underwater themed pin cushion. In the 12 and under category, first prize went to Natasha Williams for her elaborate and sparkly spider figurine, second prize went to Luc Hodkinson for his xylophone egg carton creation, and third prize went to Nuala Roberts for her miniature cardboard home, equipped with books and a well stocked fridge.

Thank you to our stellar returning judge for the Recycling/Reuse category, Joseph Montague.

The material collected at the Compost/Recycle Garbage/Stations

Fall Fair photographs by Davy Rippner

2017 Pender Islands Fall Fair
A fabulous Fair


Every year the Pender Island Recycling Society promotes REuse at the Fall Fair: we host a fun REuse/REcycle competition, we operate an Imagination Station, we provide composting and recycling information, and we lend REusable mugs for the fairground water station, and dishes, cutlery, and napkins for the Fall Fair BBQ.

Making reusable bags from Nu-To-Yu t-shirts (above); bikes and boots repurposed 

Fall Fair photographs by Davy Rippner

Once again, Judge Joseph Montague struggled to select the winning entries in the REuse/REcycling category (see slideshow of some of the entries below). 

Grace Parker won the Karl Hamson Recycling Trophy for Best Overall Submission for her Reusing Old Clothes project. Those are hats hanging on the trophy. Grace also made a headband, handkerchief, mat, quilt, and cloth bag. Judge Montague said of Grace's entry: "Great project, excellent research, and wonderful sense of humour!"

The young Group of Seven (Katie Cooper, Sadie Lucas, Ripley Stafford, Tija Cooper, Nadia Cooper, Nuala Stafford and Meredith Boyd) won first prize in the Youth Division for their Miniature Village entry: an entire village made from reused stuff. The village included a church, farmer's market, candy store, cars and boats, and people. The detail was amazing!

Sarah Nelson won second prize in the Youth Division for her "Belle Pou Belle" ("Beautiful Rubbish") brown Papier-Måché Gown with repurposed plastic bags and aluminum foil details. Judge Montague said: "Great title for an ambitious work - an alternative title could be 'Venus de Garbagio'."


Third prize in the Youth Division was won by Mathew Ohnona for his Mosaic & Mirror, made from recycled tiles and ceramic plates. Judge Joseph said: "Very cool and  well executed."


The theme of the 2017 Imagination Station was: Make a Bag From a T-Shirt. We can't wait to see all of these t-shirt bags being used around the islands! Thanks to Nu-To-Yu for supplying the nu-to-us t-shirts.


Elizabeth Scalice, Angie Bowns, Gill Peterson and Sadie Lucas did a truly amazing job making floral centrepieces for the beer garden and evening BBQ tables, reusing old tea kettles and pots, and decorated refurbished bikes and boots to brighten the the fairgrounds. Money collected from the sale of the centrepieces and bikes was generously donated to Pender Island Recycling Society.


And, if you didn't hear, PIRS won the 2017 Pender Islands Fall Fair parade trophy for Best Float. Congrats everybody! 

Slide show galleries - Click on image to enlarge

2016 Pender Islands Fall Fair
Reuse was the message


This year the Karl Hamson Recycling Trophy for Best Overall Submission in the Recycling category was won by John Foote for "Bucky" the Child's Rocking Horse.

The main body, legs and rockers of the rocking horse was made from century old salvaged fir left over from the construction of John's father's house. The saddle was made from an old cedar real estate sign post; the teak inlay and trim on the mane and tail from material left over from the building of a sailboat. The leather for the horse's ears came from bits of hide remaining when making a musical instrument.

Recycling category judge, Joseph Montague, said of Foote's entry: "A very touching labour of love recycling heirloom wood, etc. Bravissimo!!"

Young Matthew Pohl's ingenious Magnetic Boots entry won first prize in the Recycling 12 & under category.

As the Pender Island Recycling Society has done at Fall Fair celebration since 2011, recycling depot staff were present at two Compost/Recycling/Garbage stations assisting fair goers in disposing of their food scraps, recyclable items and garbage . . . working towards a garbage-free fair.

2016 Karl Hamson Recycling Trophy Best Overall Submission

"Bucky" the Rocking Horse Made by John Foote

2015 Pender Islands Fall Fair
A spectacular day


As always, the Pender Island Recycling Society was active in the Fall Fair celebration. Hundreds of people stopped by the PIRS exhibition tent to have a look at the Recycling competition entries on display.

Debbie Katz's "sports bra" entry won the Karl Hamson Trophy. Recycling judge, Joseph Montague, said of Katz's entry: "Excellent re-purposing of parts of clothes that still have life in them. MEC should include this in their catalogue!"

Volunteers Mike Wiley, Derek Young, and Tara Landry stayed busy helping youngsters build new creations with reused pieces and end cuts of wood in the ever-popular Imagination Station.

Many thanks to the volunteers who contributed to PIRS efforts and to depot staff for once again managing the Compost/Recycling/Garbage stations in working towards a garbage-free Fall Fair.

Slide show gallery - Click on image to enlarge

A look back at the 2014
Pender Island Fall Fair
Saturday, August 23


Pender Island Recycling Society was once again at the Fall Fair in 2014. The PIRS booth was full of entries in the Reuse/Recycling competition; the Imagination Station was as popular as ever; PIRS had an entry in the Fall Fair parade; and the organization led the Fall Fair Garbage-Free Initiative. 

Slide show gallery - Click on image to enlarge

2015 Fall Fair
2014 Fall Fair
2018 Fall Fair
2019 Fall Fair
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