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Opened in 1978, The Hornby Island Recycling Depot is
closing in on 40 years of recycling. We recycle and
reuse more than 70% of our waste stream.

The Free Store/Recycling Depot Solar Project

HIRRA was pleased to collaborate with the Hornby Island Community Economic Enhancement Corporation (HICEEC) in 2016 to apply for and receive a grant from the Comox Valley Regional District’s Community Works Funding (Gas Tax) for a demonstration grid-tied solar panel project.

A total of 35 solar panels were installed on the Free Store’s south-facing roof by GabEnergy a non-profit group based on Gabriola Island. The Recycling Committee also organized some educational presentations on solar installation. An educational sign, painted by an island artist, was installed at the Free Store so visitors can learn more about the project and see how the panels are performing on a weekly basis.

Track our Solar Panels

To check how the solar panels installed at the Depot are performing in real-time, visit the Enphase Energy tracking website.

Latest Recycling Info

The 2017 Hornby Island Depot Brochure contains up-to-date info to help you with all your recycling needs.


Hornby Island's New Free Store Opens Its Doors

Hornby Islanders celebrated a resurrection they can call their own, and fittingly, it happened on Easter Sunday, 2015.

Half a year after the original structure’s demolition, The Hornby Island Free Store re-opened.


In 2001 the Hornby Island Recycling program was presented with a merit award from the Recycling
Council of B.C. "for outstanding commitment to
waste reduction in B.C.". The award, a plaque
made of recycled glass, is on display at the depot.


The recycling program is directed by the Hornby Island Recycling Committee, under the umbrella of the Hornby Island Residents' & Ratepayers' Association, HIRRA. Comox Valley Regional District allocates funds raised through local property taxation, and, through management contracts with HIRRA, supports the Hornby community in its recycling and reuse initiatives.


Depot Hours

9am - 1pm

Summer: Thursday  - Sunday

Winter: Friday  - Sunday

Hornby Island Recycling Program Mission Statement

The Mission of the Hornby Island Recycling Program is:

  • To transfer "absolute" garbage and recyclables to the appropriate off-island facilities until our goal of zero waste is achieved.
  • To maintain and operate a waste diversion and recycling facility, including a "Free Store", for the benefit of island residents, visitors, local businesses and the environment.
  • To manage the diversion, recycling and reuse of the island's waste in a way that is consistent with, or superior to, applicable government regulations, including environmental, health and safety.
  • To operate the Hornby Island Recycling Depot in a fiscally responsible manner where cost effectiveness is based on a full accounting of costs and benefits, both monetary and non-monetary.
  • To encourage and support a positive, respectful and safe environment at the Recycling Depot for all users, employees, and volunteers.
  • To ensure ongoing public consultation and communication among all residents and business operators, members of Hornby Island Residents' and Ratepayers' Association and the Comox Valley Regional District.
  • To promote community education and support for continued waste reduction, reuse and recycling toward the goal of zero waste.
  • To measure progress toward the goal of zero waste, and revise practices accordingly.

Revised - Nov.2015


Jan Kennedy
Kathi Sauve
Barbara Baird
Ilze Raudzins
Alsoon Brine

President: Rob McCreary
Vice President: Andrew Mark
Treasurer: Lynn Nunley
Secretary: Rachelle Chinnery



In the late seventies as our population began to expand, the limits of a small island forced us to realize that there was no such place as 'away' when it came to garbage. This realization was a major impetus to the community to become one of the earliest pioneers in today's recycling movement.

One of those pioneers was Kathi Linnman. She explains that in 1978 she was hired by the Hornby Island Ratepayers Association to set up and run a Recycling Depot.

" The motivation for the island to try recycling was economic and I applied for the job for economical reasons too. I didn't want to see all that useful 'stuff' shipped off the island and become inaccessible. Where would we go to find a tail light for our vehicle or a damper for the stove, or a curtain rod , or ? There was little space at the Co-op for hardware, trips to town were infrequent and if your neighbour didn't have what you needed, there was always 'the dump', a great resource for all kinds of things. Here was a chance to organize other people's garbage into something useful to someone else and to keep our stuff out of someone else's landfill..."

Within a few weeks the old landfill site boasted glass and metal collection areas plus a shed for the ever-popular Free Store. A burner was added which has since been retired in favor of cleaner air, and paper recycling. We have grown into a thriving enterprise, gone through many adjustments and changes, including the addition of a composter to handle the large volume of organics we receive in the summer from our campgrounds and restaurants which cater to a thriving tourist industry.

Hornby Islanders should be proud of their achievements. Since opening the Recycling Depot in 1978, Hornby Island has played a leadership role in implementing reduction, reuse, and recycling services and community education programs in its community. Hornby Island residents now generate less than half a kilogram of garbage per person per day, much lower than the provincial average.

The Hornby Island Recycling Centre has generously shared its experience with communities and non-profits throughout BC and as far away as Ireland and Australia. The Centre's success points to the strength of volunteerism and community spirit that define not-for-profit organizations.

Today at least, the rest of the Province seems to be catching up with us, in declaring that it is no longer acceptable for Canada to produce more garbage per capita than any other country except the USA Communities that today are trying to set up systems such as ours have an uphill battle to wean people away from the ease of curbside pick-ups and throw away mentality. We can be grateful to those Islanders twenty-five years ago, who decided to do it the ' Hornby Way'. Thanks to all of them, and to all the people in the community who have been part of the struggle. Mother Earth is watching us, and we hope she approves.

You make choices when you shop.
Consider the environmental effects of a product BEFORE you purchase it.

Here are some precycling suggestions:

  • Buy items that can be reused rather than thrown away.
  • Avoid disposals such as diapers. razors, lighters and pens, plastic foodware, paper plates, throwaway batteries. Each of these has a reusable alternative.
  • Choose the least packaged item or buy in bulk.
  • Buy milk, juice and beer in bottles.
  • Tell your store manager when you see excessive packaging. Encourage local businesses to use and sell recycled content products.
  • Bring your own grocery bag or box.

Buying recycled is the third step in the recycling loop -- without it, you're not really recycling.

Please do your part to increase market demand for recycled products by purchasing items which have recycled packaging or contents. This way companies will be encouraged to expand their usage of recycled components in manufactured goods.

If you're not buying recycled, you're not really recycling!


Our Free Store

Free Store

A thriving and very active component of
the Hornby Island RecycleDepot is our

Here you can find a new outfit for yourself or your kids,
books and magazines
kitchen equipment
gardening tools
sewing patterns
the list is endless!



By Janet LeBlancq

"Do I just take this?" he asked, holding a decent looking electric floor sweeper at arms length. It was as if he was expecting me to snatch it back, or at least tell him how much it cost. I loved telling him "Yes, you just take it."

This is the Free Store, you give and take. For us in the Use Again business, that is all there is to it. There are memorable stories about the best scores. Colleen Work once drove a truck that came from the free store used car lot. It was white with a wooden deck. Ran well, but only for one summer as I recall. When Paul and Carole were courting, I invited them for dinner. They wore identical shoes. I knew then that the romance was serious. Paul's Gucci shoes were Vancouver store bought while Carole's were Free Store found.

There I was at the RCBC convention banquet in Richmond, decked out in Free Store finery and they called on me to receive our award. Wendy Hanford once told me that her Free Store wardrobe was sufficient and more to see her through a realtor's convention in Vancouver.

And this month, an islander is on the quest for the perfect bra. How do you feel when you see your 2"d hand bra draped across the display area, with a baby stored in one cup while her mother shops? Oh God. "Twiggy, where are you? Come out, come back, wherever you are."

How do you feel on those occasions that you see your shirt walking around the Co-op wrapped around someone else? Now the politically correct thing to do is say nothing. Or you could exclaim, "That shirt looks great on you", while thinking, "Much better than it ever did on me." Or you might wonder why you ever gave it away. Be patient, you can get it back someday from the Free Store.

Save wool for Kay Inglis, she knits socks, and potential quilt squares for Una Keziere and the quitters. Gather plastic bits for Stevi's child artists in training; last spring, we also had a run on red shoes and musical instruments. One year we saved all toilets for the theater group who returned them in mint and polished condition. Yvonne from Denman harvests appliance parts. He can only take as much as he can carry on his bike. Emery Alstad finds lawn mower parts. Max Metal's old ambulance transmission is now in Don Cartwright's van. We cut the top off another van for Timber, tho I don't know the intended use. I just know it was Very Important.

Doug Nixon was compacting the Dumpster loads last summer when a bolt was lost from his backhoe shovel. We searched the Free Store and found a replacement bolt that worked fine.

The most unusual Free Store score? It was a summer day at the depot and Kathi Linnman was doing an early bird visit. She sailed into the office, carrying a small plastic detergent pail. She handed me the pail and declared. "You won't believe this." I wouldn't have. Inside that Tide pail in a labeled bag were the "cremated remains of Jean Sheils". Because she had been a member of the Recycling Committee, we figured Jean was just checking in. Though we were tempted to keep her around, Jean did not remain with us. We laughed about this, but on the edge of a tear.

Recycled roosters have come through our revolving free store gate mostly just in time to avoid the pot, one transferred in from Galleon Beach to save the neighbors from 4 A.M. wake up calls. Arriving at the depot, the Rhode Island Red ran around admiring his image in shiny hubcaps! One rooster went AWOL, presumed possumed and two were recently adopted. We were fascinated by Yana's skill as he captured both birds with a fish net. They now enjoy life at Pethick Pastures. Lucy's dog was stranded 3 days in a Dumpster while everyone searched high and low. When rescued, the dog was fine and not very hungry.

WeddingThe depot office is a treasure trove of Use Agains. The computer came from the R.C.M.P. offices in Courtenay: the filing cabinet was once in the government buildings in Victoria. The coffee maker made Java for the Radio Free Hornby gang before they were busted, the water taps used to be in the Hornby Clinic, and the table hails from up North. Dennis Zbirun rescued the big office chair from the Dumpster at the Pidgeon Lake landfill.

The kids are getting more into the Free Store rhythm each year. Often they come to the office and ask to be volunteers and "can I wear the badge?" They are usually assigned the children's section, and under the watchful eyes of the veterans, they learn to sort and tidy and not take everything they see on the first trip.

This really is a story about us. We've been recycled into this space and time, converging, we know not why, at Hornby's Free Store where the search and rescue of needful things continues.


    The Hornby Island Recycling Depot is a member of The Coast Waste Management Association (CWMA), a nonprofit organization formed to represent the waste management interests of government, non-profits, and businesses on Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and Central Coast of BC

  • HIRRA (Hornby Island Residence ane Ratepayers Association)
    HIRRA, along with our local Island Trustees, represents the interests of islanders with respect to local and regional issues. HIRRA is one of the principal service providers on our island, and has contracts with the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona for the provision of regional district services on Hornby Island.

    More information and pictures of our beautiful island off the coast of British Columbia.

  • RECYCLING COUNCIL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (RCBC) Canada’s oldest recycling council. Founded in 1974 and registered provincially and federally as a non-profit organization. Starting out as an umbrella group for community based non-profit recycling societies, today the RCBC's 300 members include governments, businesses, non-profit societies, and interested individuals from all parts of British Columbia -- and beyond.
    Thier mission is to be a non-profit organization that brings everyone together to work for environmental sustainability. They advocate waste avoidance and resource conservation through education and information services, and through participation in policy development.

    An online environmental community with a wealth of contacts and information for the environmentally aware. Connected to this site is ENVIROARTS, a site featuring essays, poetry, interviews, and portfolios gleaned largely from the pages of the award-winning magazines.

    A community based program in Boulder Colorado, Eco-Cycle is one of the oldest and is the largest of nonprofit community recyclers in the US Founded in 1976, Eco-Cycle continues to promote a strong conservation ethic.

    Sponsored by The Environmental Defense Fund , this rebuttal to the New York Times article, "Recycling is Garbage" is an excellent read.

For further information
Contact Recycling Program Manager
Stani Veselinovic

EMAIL: hiwmc@yahoo.com
Phone: 250 335-0550