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Tire pollution reduction rubber meeting the road in new B.C. partnership

Tire Stewardship B.C. helps fund Ocean Legacy Foundation cleanup work
Besides landfills, tires are commonly dumped on beaches or in forest areas in British Columbia. The new partnership between Ocean Legacy and the B.C. Tire Stewardship aims to reduce tire pollution, and bolster recycling of discarded tires in the province. (Tire Stewardship B.C./Contributed to Black Press Media)

A group responsible for tire recycling in B.C. is helping environmentalists pluck tires from some of B.C.’s hard-to-reach places.

The Tire Stewardship British Columbia group announced Friday it will be providing $30,000 to the Ocean Legacy Foundation in each of the next five years to support the foundation’s scrap-tire clean up initiatives across the province.

In 2022 alone, the foundation and its partners cleaned up more than 2,000 scrap tires from a small island off the Sunshine Coast.

“We are responsible for the tire recycling so we felt it was just a natural fit, and really just an obligation on our part to fund the work that [Ocean Legacy] is doing,” said Tire Stewardship B.C. executive director Rosemary Sutton.

Ocean Legacy was started in 2013 to develop programs that respond to plastic pollution in Canada, with goals of ending the plastic pollution crisis. The foundation works to remove foam-filled tires from beach cleanups or dock deconstructions, and the hands them off to other teams to recycle.

“These funds are going to be critical in allowing our team to continue accessing remote coastal locations around the province to remove pollution that has been reported,” said Chloe Dubois, Executive Director and co-founder of Ocean Legacy.

READ MORE: More than 50 tonnes of rubber ends up in Okanagan waterways each year: Study

“I think it’s just important to highlight that humans are really the only species on this planet that create garbage. If we are in a position to take responsibility for the waste that we create, we need to do so,” Dubois said.

Funding will be put toward expanding into more communities and working to remove pollution from more ecologically sensitive environments.

“This partnership with Tire Stewardship B.C. is an important puzzle piece in helping to secure that annual funding,” said Dubois.

Tire Stewardship B.C. is a non-profit organization that also works to collect scrap tires, and then recycles them into things such as playground surfaces, athletic tracks and garden mulch.

Established in 1991, the organization has recycled more than 100 million tires into new products, and Sutton said this new established partnership was the right next step to boost the pollution reduction initiatives.

“I think for us, it’s just an absolute win. We are obligated to deal with tires, and to go from having to say ‘I’m sorry they have to go to the landfill’ to the fact that we now have a solution is an incredible win for everybody. For us, for [Dubois], for the public, for the environment,” Sutton said.