Quest for recycling
Sibbeston's mission is to help establish recycling program

Derek Neary
Northern News Services

Fort Simpson (Feb 25/00) - Stephanie Sibbeston has a bit of a guilty conscience, and she's finding out that she's not alone.

"I grew up down south and lived with recycling. Now it's really hard whenever I throw stuff away -- cans and paper -- I always feel bad," she said. "It just seems so crazy just to throw it in the garbage when it can be used again."

With backing from the Deh Cho Friendship Centre and Environment Canada's Community Animation Program, Sibbeston is working towards establishing a recycling program in Fort Simpson.

The idea has been tossed around before, but has been dismissed because transportation costs are too high, she acknowledged.

She has checked into the prices paid for recyclable materials and has an estimate from a trucking firm of roughly $1,600 to haul a tractor-trailer load of recyclables to Edmonton. She's still working on the feasibility of the project, but volume will be the key, she said.

"A large part of the support I'll need is from the businesses and government offices because they generate the most recyclable material, like office white paper, which pays the most," she explained, adding that Fort Simpson could possibly combine its efforts with Fort Providence or Hay River to create enough volume.

Many residents in the community have told her they are very supportive of the initiative.

"A lot of people save their (recyclables) and then when they have a chance to go down south, they take it with them," she noted.

A 1998 questionnaire circulated by the Fort Simpson Beautification Society found 97.5 per cent of 60 respondents indicated support for a recycling program in the community. When asked, "Would you be willing to take your recyclable materials to a drop-off location," 92 per cent of participants in the survey said "Yes."

The questionnaire also determined that the average household generates 3.65 bags of garbage per week, with a substantial portion of that being recyclable or reusable materials.

Sibbeston visited Bompas elementary school last week and Thomas Simpson school the previous week. She told the Grade 1/2 class that pop bottles, pop cans, paper and cardboard are all recyclable. Teacher Bernice Gargan mentioned that she reuses plastic milk containers to pot plants.

Pop bottles can even be turned into fleece sweaters, Sibbeston noted.