Perhaps one of the most practical and environmentally sustainable ways to recycle newspapers is to use them to help keep our homes warm.
The main ingredient of cellulose insulation, a commonly used residential insulation, is post-consumer newspaper. You can actually see the bits of newspaper in the insulation.
Marshall Taylor, a department supervisor at the Langford Home Depot, said cellulose insulation is a particularly good product for insulating hard to reach or hard to fill areas, such as an attic or a wall that is already drywalled. Cellulose insulation can be sprayed into spaces or installed by hand and rake, making it easier to work with than baton insulation.
“Homeowners use a tonne of it,” Taylor said. “We sell, let’s say, 70 bags a week, in our top season. Which is pretty good.”
Another benefit of cellulose insulation is that it’s far safer to handle than pink fibreglass insulation or rock wool insulation. Taylor recommends wearing gloves, safety glasses and a dust mask when working with cellulose insulation, to be safe, but it generally will not cause irritation.
For these reasons, combined with the fact it’s a far more environmentally friendly product than other insulations, cellulose insulation is an easy sell, Taylor said.
“Eighty per cent of the time they’ll choose this one, basically because of the product that it is, of what it’s made out of,” Taylor said. “They’ll generally choose this one more often than not. And I’m happy to offer it. The fact that we have it available is fantastic.”
Recycle as a fundraiser
A classic newspaper recycling program brings in big bucks for one West Shore service club.
Paper recycling is the major fundraiser for the West Shore Lions Club.
“We put drop boxes out and the guys volunteer to go around and pick it up and sell it to Cascade Recycling,” said Lloyd Engelking, the club’s secretary treasurer. “It’s one of the major fundraisers.”
The group takes pride in funding scholarships, families in need, the Goldstream Food Bank and Camp Shawnigan.
“The price fluctuates, so it’s hard to predict (how much it raises),” Engelking said. “It usually raises between $10,000 and $12,000 a year.”
Visit e-clubhouse.org/sites/westshorebc for a full list of recycling locations across the West Shore.