Our History

Thirty years ago, the CRD announced its intention to establish a garbage transfer site on Pender Island. A group of Pender Islanders believed that there was a better solution . . . a recycling depot.

Commemorative plaque

New storage building under contruction (2010).

Thirty years ago, the CRD announced its intention to establish a garbage transfer site on Pender Island. A group of Pender Islanders believed that there was a better solution . . . a recycling depot.

 

An island referendum saw the garbage transfer operation proposal defeated by a vote of 642 to 21. Winning the vote was easy, starting a recycling operation from the ground up was formidable . . . formidable, but not impossible.

 

The Pender Island Recycling Society (PIRS) was incorporated in January 1989. With grassroots support and a $5 sign-up fee for members, the PIRS was up and running. Proceeding from recycling theory to reality required land, but purchasing land in those early years was out of the question. The answer to the problem materialized when the present property was generously leased to the Society for the princely sum of $1 per year . . . by longtime Pender residents June and Max Allan. Thanks to a core volunteer work crew of 30, our first building was erected and the recycling operation officially commenced nine months later.

 

In 2001, the Allans generously sold the property to PIRS at a price below market value. Not only was the Allans’ philanthropy appreciated at the time, but eight years later, ownership of its own property is recognized as a crucial factor in the recycling societies' sound financial footing.

 

Andy Nowak, 1992

Humble beginnings and meagre initial funding forced the early operations to rely on volunteer labour, but it wasn’t long before the group recognized the need for paid staff. Andy Nowak was hired as the first manager. Clearly, the hiring committee had an eye for dedication and commitment . . . Andy is still part of the operation.

 

Unlike the early days, the wisdom and necessity of recycling is now well recognized and as a result, the recycling depot operation is far busier than its ever been. Like the early days, the staff still shares a passion  for the aims of recycling . . . reduce, reuse and recycle, but it now it takes a staff of eleven to process the tons of newspaper, plastic, scrap metal, bottles, batteries, paint and more that roll through the depot every year.

Pender Island Recycling Society

(250) 629.6962 | E-mail »