The McKays in Oliver have started cigarette butt recycling program, with canisters set up in locations from Penticton to Osoyoos. (Facebook)

The McKays in Oliver have started cigarette butt recycling program, with canisters set up in locations from Penticton to Osoyoos. (Facebook)

Oliver couple’s cigarette butt recycling program off to great start

The cigarette butts are broken down and turned into industrial plastics

Smokers can sometimes leave behind more than just a cloud of smoke, and for Dean and Debbie McKay, that’s something they’re trying to do something about.

Coming to the Okanagan Valley from Vancouver Island, the couple was disappointed to see that littered cigarrette butts weren’t a rare sight.

“I grew up in Oliver, and it was a shame seeing them all over the streets and up and down the waterways,” said Dean.

So they brought a program they had supported as Rotarians on the island to the Okanagan, where they had partnered with a local branch of the international anti-pollution and anti-plastics group Surfrider.

That partnership saw canisters set up to gather cigarette butts instead of having people just drop them or toss them in the garbage.

“When we moved here we found there wasn’t a recycling program for cigarette butts, and people didn’t even know they could be recycled,” said Debbie.

READ MORE: Sickle Point has been saved

The couple has been hard at work distributing canisters for cigarette butts to interested businesses up and down the South Okanagan, from Osoyoos up to Penticton.

In three weeks, the couple has had great support from the community, with businesses from hotels to RV parks asking for them to install the collection canisters.

So far they have installed 15 of the canisters, and have already made trips out to gather filled canisters.

Once the cigarette butts are collected, they’re shipped off to a company that separates out any of the remaining tobacco, and then melts down what’s left into plastic pallets and other products.

“They melt the butts down into industrial plastics and turn it into useful products,” said Dean.

In exchange for the raw material, the company donates money in turn to local charities.

“It benefits the environment and it benefits local charities, a lot of who are suffering right now,” said Debbie.

READ MORE: Watering restrictions in Penticton start today

They hope that as more people hear about their program, the more canisters they can install and the fewer cigarette butts there will be making a mess in the environment.

The couple is currently chartering a new Rotary Club in Oliver, and once it is up and running, they plan to expand with further environmentally-minded programs once they have more hands to help.

Their next program? Gathering soaps and other toiletries from hotels, bed and breakfasts and other such places to donate them to the Oliver Missions Society to distribute to seniors and others in need.

“It keeps all that crap from going into our landfills, and hopefully cuts the waste of perfectly good products to use,” said Debbie.

“And most importantly helps out the people who can’t afford it,” added Dean.

All of the projects that the McKay’s are working on and planning will be designed with COVID-19 safety measures in mind.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


@PentictonNews
newstips@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Recycling

Just Posted

There were questions raised as to whether or not this structure actually cost less than $100,000. Scott Robertson, owner of Absolute Contracting and partial owner for Arrowtec, said the building is meant to be
temporary as two or three years down the road, his company’s intent is develop houses on the property in line with the land use designated to the property in the Official Community Plan, which is T4–walk up residential. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
‘This is failure’: Construction noise frustrates neighbours on Victoria Rd. E

The city and business are trying to reduce noise, but residents want the project gone

Eric Schwenck was awarded the Train-to-Train Coach Goldie award by BC Alpine this year. He coached the Revelstoke Ski Club U14s last winter. (Katie Findlay photo)
Revelstoke Ski Club coach and volunteer recognized in the Goldie Awards

BC Alpine recognizes ski clubs, skiers and volunteers with awards every year

Moving the old jail from Third Street West to Carlson Street in May 1971. (Estelle Dickey photo; Revelstoke Museum and Archives photo 9171)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for May 13

Local history as recorded by the newspaper of the day

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

Mario Bafaro awoke in the middle of the night on April 25 to his home on fire in the Big Eddy. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
‘I didn’t know I had so many friends’: Revelstoke fire victim thanks community for support

Mario Bafaro lost his home and dogs in a house fire on April 25

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen (18) and Calgary Flames’ Josh Leivo, front right, vie for the puck as goalie Jacob Markstrom, back left, watches during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, February 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver Canucks forward Jake Virtanen sued over alleged sexual assault

Statement of claim says the woman, identified only by her initials, suffered physical and emotional damages

A kite surfer gets some help out of the water from his wife and dog after the wind left his sails on Swan Lake Monday morning. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Downed parachuter on Swan Lake just a novice kite surfer

Emergency calls were downgraded after reports of a downed parachute changed

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The first of the extended closures is wrapping up, with the Trans-Canada highway re-opening on weekends for travel. (Jack Stuemple photo)
Trans-Canada highway to open on weekends

The highway will be open starting on Friday for the long weekend

Meghan Thompson and her daughter Kennedy Lanteigne were awarded bravery awards on Saturday for helping to save the life of a baby drowning off a Naramata beach last June. (Submitted)
Penticton mom and daughter awarded for saving baby from drowning

Off duty Penticton fire captain also awarded for saving the boy’s life last summer in Naramata

Rescue crews search for a missing diver in Okanagan Lake at Hot Sands Beach by the William R. Bennett Bridge on Sunday, May 16. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Missing Okanagan Lake diver presumed drowned, recovery efforts continue

Boaters are asked to stay away from the area as crews continue the search

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Most Read