Campers Recycle Throwaway Propane Cylinders in Parks across Ontario
The Recycling Challenge
How to Keep Campstove Propane Tanks out of the Garbage
When it comes to the environment, we all have a responsibility to help keep the great outdoors great. Cheryl Moore is Assistant Park Superintendent for Bass Lake, Mara and McRae Point Provincial Parks. She tells us that single-use waste propane cylinders had become a significant problem in Ontario Parks, and employees were struggling to find a solution.
“We had signs at our garbage and recycling depots asking visitors to take their cylinders home and recycle them at their local household hazardous waste facility. However, many of them were still left on the ground, thrown in the dumpsters or mixed in with the recycling.”
Park staff did what they could to sort and divert these little propane tanks but, despite their best efforts, ended up with stockpiles, because nobody could offer a cost-effective way of collecting and recycling the cylinders.
The Sustainable Solution
Orange Drop Cages help Preserve the Great Outdoors
In 2011 Stewardship Ontario expanded its special waste collections into the far-reaching network of Ontario Parks. Now Orange Drop collection cages can be found in Provincial Parks from Pakwash in the north to Wheatley in the south, Rushing River in the west and Voyageur in the east. The 335 Ontario Parks cover about 10 per cent of our province, an area that’s roughly the size of Nova Scotia. Together, these parks attract over 10 million visits a year—campers and day trippers who love to barbeque.
Over 100,000 kilograms of Propane Tanks Collected from Ontario Parks
“Thanks to Stewardship Ontario,” Cheryl says, “We now have nearly 400 Orange Drop cages in 85 of our most frequently visited parks.” Now people have a highly visible, clearly marked, bright orange cage where they can drop off their waste propane cylinders. As a result of the program, 102,000 kilograms of propane cylinders were collected from the Parks in 2011—32 per cent of all the non-refillable pressurized containers collected that year. Cheryl tells us, “It’s staggering just how many cylinders we’re now collecting in these cages. For example, Algonquin collected 123 drums of cylinders in 2011, compared to the two drums that were collected in 2010 before the Orange Drop cages were in place.”
The Campground Collaborators
Stewardship Ontario‘s Orange Drop—Stewardship Ontario is a not-for-profit organization funded and governed by the industries that make and market the products and packaging materials recycled through the programs it manages–the Blue Box and Orange Drop.
Ontario Parks—Over 330 parks, covering 9 million hectares attracting over 10 million visits a year. Ontario Parks protects a system of provincial parks and conservation reserves, protects provincially significant elements of Ontario’s natural and cultural heritage, maintains biodiversity and provides opportunities for compatible, ecologically sustainable recreation.
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