Reduce, reuse, recycle. Three words we hear so often while living in Vancouver; a city that is striving to be one of the greenest cities in the world. And yet, every summer, as the traffic increases on our multitudes of once pristine trails, beaches, forests and mountains, we carelessly leave litter in our wake. We hear of unsung heroes who journey to spots like Joffre Lakes, Lindeman or Jones Lake to collect and hike out mounds of garbage and recyclables left by hikers and campers, and we commend their collective efforts. We share this land with the plants, animals, and the ecosystems that were in place long before we ever moved in. It’s a privilege to be able to enjoy this breathtakingly beautiful province.
As the refuse left by careless campers seems to worsen with each year, we’ve been wracking our brains how to communicate to our fellow Canadians how painless recycling is, and how truly beneficial it is for all of us. When we were approached by Encorp Return-It for a collaboration involving their new Return-It Express locations, it was like all of our recycling potential dreams came true. Recycling made EASY! Cause yeah, we get it…bottle depots, while awesome for what they do, usually require some work. Sorting sticky bottles on a hot day? Not so fun.
But what if you could just drop off mixed bags of assorted cans, bottles, and juice containers, and await money to be magically awarded to you via gift card, cheque, or even a charitable donation? We’d all be crazy not to recycle! Lucky for all of us, these mind-blowing Express Depots actually exist. Drop off your bottles and they do the messy sorting for you, and credit your online account.
Armed with this new knowledge, we decided to perform an experiment: hike a well known trail during the week, collect any discarded recyclables along the trail, bring the recyclables (if any) to our closest Express location, and time the entire process start to finish. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
We set out on a Tuesday afternoon, equipped with our blue transparent garbage bag for submitting our recycling, and head towards the notoriously pretty Quarry Rock hike in Deep Cove.
the challenge begins.
3:00pm: Arrived in Deep Cove, and parked in the main lot. Picked up 2 bottles in the parking lot, 2 cans in Panorama Park, and a bag of 6 empties left strewn on the grass.
3:10pm: Began the hike to Quarry Rock on the Baden Powell Trail. Along the way, picked up 11 bottles and 2 cans, got super dirty climbing under the stairs and into bushes. Met 6 really cute pups and lots of friendly hikers.
3:50pm: AHHH Quarry Rock!!! It never gets old! Briefly distracted from our mission by the insane view. Brought back to reality by the bottles left by hikers and picnickers at the top, picked up 3 more bottles, and sadly, saw about a half a dozen more that were dangerously out of reach.
4:30pm: Phew! Sweaty. Back at the car, we filled our blue garbage bag with bottles, and head straight for our local Return-It Express location. Not going to lie, it was pretty disheartening to see how many bottles and cans we actually found along the trail and in the park.
5:00pm Arrived at Return-It Express. Created an account, signed in with our phone number, printed our label, stuck our mixed bag of qualifying recyclables on the conveyer belt.
5:05pm: DONE. Recycling at Express Depot complete, in 5 minutes flat!
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we all did our part and left each trail we hiked in better condition than we found it? See a bottle, pick it up, (or even better, pop your empties into your backpack - they weigh next to nothing!) We’ve gotten in the habit of bringing extra bags with us to collect any garbage or bottles we find on our adventures. We challenge you guys to do the same.
In the meantime, if you want to recycle effortlessly, drop by your local Return-It Express location. Trust us, it couldn't be any easier:
1. To sign up for your free Return-It Express account, visit express.return-it.ca and register with a phone number of your choice.
2. With Return-It Express there's no need to sort. Simply place your empty beverage containers securely into a "Blue" or transparent bag.
3. Visit a Return-It Express kiosk at one of the locations listed and use your registered phone number to access your account.
4. Select how many bags you have and where you want to deposit your refund. You can either choose your account or select one of the charities listed on the screen.
5. Once you've finished, the kiosk will print off labels for you to stick on each bag. It's important each bag receives it's own sticker.
6. Place your bags into the Express Kiosk drop off area and you are done. They will sort, count and refund your deposit. It's that simple.
7. Go online to check the status of your account or to redeem your refunds for e-gift cards, a cheque or a charitable donation.
THIS POST IS IN PAID PARTNERSHIP WITH RETURN-IT EXPRESS. ALL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS IN THIS BLOG POST WERE TAKEN AND EDITED BY BRIE & REUBEN OF VANCITYWILD.
ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN.