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Richmond's solid waste landfill company invites community to their open house

Enjoy a day of fun activities, including free BBQ, an Ecowaste bus tour, heavy equipment demos, games for prizes, and more at Ecowaste’s open house event on September 9
See Ecowaste's environmental sustainability efforts in action.

As a kid, if you didn't own a toy excavator, you probably had a friend who did. The hands-on satisfaction of operating the small-scale heavy equipment—digging, loading, and dumping construction play—is just as big a hit with children today, and perhaps are equally curious about the real deal.

If you're fascinated with heavy machinery and interested in learning about the region's waste management operations and recycling activities, Ecowaste’s family-friendly open house and barbeque event on September 9, taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is your chance to experience it all. Expect a snapshot of a day-in-the-life (and afterlife) of the landfill's construction, demolition and excavation materials, and Ecowaste's environmental sustainability efforts.

For more than 50 years, Ecowaste has been a member of the Richmond community, providing an essential service as one of only two construction and demolition (C&D) disposal sites in the Lower Mainland.

"We accept inert construction and demolition materials, with a goal of diverting as much away from the landfill as possible," says Christian Dietrich, VP, Recycling and Waste Services at Ecowaste. "The facility also handles and recycles cardboard, metals, concrete, brick, tile, and wood/lumber."

They're also a public drop-off for the Richmond Green Waste program, where residents can bring in their green waste for free.

Landfill operations, recycling activities

Metro Vancouver aims to increase the recycling rate of the construction and demolition industry to 80 per cent by diverting recyclable materials, such as wood from landfilling. Wood is the predominant recyclable material in demolition waste.

"We have invested in machinery that can process construction wood into biomass which can be used as a fuel source. This biomass is used for heating, or turned into power and allows our customers to avoid using fossil fuels for their energy needs," explains Dietrich.

"There are more processes onsite that address the growing construction industry. There's a soil remediation operation, a compost facility, and concrete and asphalt recycling. These products are often used back into the landfill operation, such as soil for side slopes, concrete to make roads, and compost for growing the final grass cover.”

Plans for a new large-scale materials recovery facility (MRF) are in the works. If the facility is approved, it would allow Ecowaste to divert 65 per cent of the demolition waste it receives from the landfill, nearly doubling the current rate of 35 per cent.

Open house and barbeque

Take a 25-minute bus tour to experience the landfill in action, and see heavy equipment in operation. You can even climb into the seat of a parked excavator, skid steer, and bulldozer for a real-world perspective.

Kids (booster seat included) and adults can go for a ride in a rock truck, which moves sand and dirt (when working) on the site, and holds about 27 metres of material.

"On the bus tour you'll see the compactor on the landfill in operation, the wood processing facility, and the concrete processing area" reveals Dietrich.

Attendees can also check out one of the charities that Ecowaste supports, Delta’s O.W.L.  O.W.L rehabilitates birds of prey from the Lower Mainland.

Enjoy a hamburger and pop, and play games for prizes from recycled materials, like cotton convention totes, notebooks, pens, reusable stainless straws, bamboo fibre cutlery sets, and more.

"This is our 10th annual open house. The goal has always been to educate our visitors, to explain what happens to construction and demolition waste from the lower mainland and to see firsthand what Ecowaste is doing to repurpose and recycle as many materials as possible," says Dietrich.

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