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Four-year-old points out gaps in local recycling system

Mason Parkhill, 4, has been named recycler of the year.  - Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS
Mason Parkhill, 4, has been named recycler of the year.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS

Sure, most people collect their recyclables at home and dutifully sort them into coloured bags for curbside pickup and hauling to the depot.

But what about the tonnes of plastic water bottles, pop bottles, cans and paper that people carry and dispose of when they’re out of the house?

Four-year-old Mason Parkhill thought about that too – but did something about it and wrote to Maple Ridge council suggesting that recycling bins be set up at bus stops, in parks and school yards.

For that reason, along with his diligence in recycling at home, Parkhill was named Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s Recycler of the Year.

His mother Amanda said Mason was first interested in the recycling trucks, with all the compartments for sorting waste.

“From there, Mason just started asking more and more questions and was really interested in all of it.”

On his fourth birthday, he and his friends toured the Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot. The depot gives tours to school groups, as well as hosting an annual visit from BCIT Environmental Health students.

According to the recycling society, his concern about the environment he’ll be growing up in, and his family’s commitment to taking action to make the world a better place, led him to the award.

In his letter to Mayor Ernie Daykin and council, Mason said he noticed that “most garbage bins at bus stops are full of recyclable materials, mostly pop and water bottles. I would like to see recycle bins attached to all bus stops next to the garbage cans.

“It would also be a good idea to have recycle bins in schoolyards and parks. I look forward to hearing what you think of my idea.

“Yours truly, Mason Parkhill (with help from my mom).”

Leanne Koehn, recycling depot employee in charge of outreach, said Mason not only learned about recycling, but took action on it by writing to council.

“We’re in full support of the idea.”

Parkhill was to receive the award at Tuesday’s council meeting.

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