Let's Talk Trash

September 2022 - History of the Free Store: Sometime in the early 1970’s, Noel Taylor came up with the concept of a “Shop Swap” as a way for the locals to share the stuff they had hidden in their sheds, shops and attics. The first one was at the Legion (now the Arts Center grounds) and people brought boxes full of treasures (and some junk) to buy, sell and trade. While it was highly successful in moving stuff from one household to another, it also left Noel with a mountain of leftovers she didn’t want to be responsible for. Having visited the Free Store on Hornby, she figured Lasqueti could create its own and so she set about finding a place.

She collaborated with Nancy Varney who had a small cabin near the yellow house in False Bay (on the hill above Provisions where Anneliese lives now).  After some minor repairs to the two-room shack, it was filled with stuff and dubbed the Lasqueti Free Store. Run entirely by volunteers, twice a year it would get a thorough going through - the garbage was taken to the dump and the remaining donations were reorganized. I’ve heard tales from my peers of how it was also a place they would party and how the donations were often wet and the space disgusting.

When Noel became Regional Director in the early 1980’s, she arranged land to be leased from the Magic Mountain Land Co-op for the Fire Hall. Later, permission was given for a Free Store to set up next to the Fire Hall. Noel designed the building and Jim Drake built it. The Regional District paid for the construction. In 1993, Noel furnished it with her dad’s leftover dressers, mirrors and shelves. It wasn’t until 1996 that the first solid waste sub-plan was prepared for Lasqueti by the Powell River Regional District (now the qRD), but locals were already set up to reduce their waste by having a space to help recirculate some goods.

The Free Store continued to be run on a volunteer basis until Vic and Chris Lacey were hired by the qRD as the first Waste Managers. Noel tried to organize volunteers to keep the space clean and tidy but volunteer energy dropped away now that a paid employee was involved.

Originally, the Recycling/Refundable section out back of the Free Store was opened as a way for the Waste Manager to make some extra money.

In the fifty years since that first “Shop Swap”, the Free Store has become a part of the local scene and a key way for locals to avoid throwing out useable. We’ve all found amazing treasures there. However, since its inception, it’s also been abused and used as a place to dump items with minimal or no reuse value (aka garbage). Last month, for instance, Waste Manager Mark took two truckloads of unusable donations to the trash barge.

To keep the amazing resource of our Free Store available to locals, we all need to do our part. Do not donate items that are ripped, stained, perishable, have missing parts, or are broken.   When you ‘shop’ at the Free Store, keep it tidy, and even make that extra effort to clean up after others that haven’t been as mindful. Please donate only during hours of operation so staff can help you.

Reminder: There is a monthly garbage barge service for waste on the 2nd Wednesday of every month (details below).

Trash Removal System: The 2nd Wednesday of every month is trash removal day at False Bay barge ramp. 10:00 am until the barge is full. September 14th is the next trash removal date.  Any changes due to weather will be posted on the email list, FB Lasqueti Hotwire, and the Lasqueti website.

No construction materials, renovation or demolition waste, prohibited waste, organics, recyclable material or stewardship materials are permit-ted. $5 per bag, $25 per average truckload. Mattresses and boxsprings $15 each. Please call Mark if you have any questions. 8601 or 250 240 9886


Recycling Depot: Spring/Summer Hours  April 1- October 31st

  • Mon 10 am - 2 pm, Thursdays 1 - 5 pm,
    Fri 10 am - 4 pm


Closed on Statutory Holidays. All recycling is monitored. Please bring it CLEAN and DRY and SORTED.

Free Store: Spring/Summer Hours  April 1- October 31st

  • Monday 10 am – 2 pm and Thursday 1 - 5 pm


Please respect the signs. Drop donations during open hours so they can be quarantined. Outstanding items only, i.e. clean, usable clothing and household items. Please, NO food, garbage, recycling, TV’s, soft foam, batteries, electrical devices, mattresses or hazardous materials, ie: chemicals, fluorescent light tubes, prescription/non-prescription drugs, or pills in general. There are recycling programs on Vancouver island for many of these materials.

Recycle BC Website: www.recyclebc.ca/what-can-i-recycle

Return-It Beverage Depot open 24/7 Front left of Free Store. It’s not part of Mark’s contract to deal with refundable beverages. He no longer accepts glass (beer, wine, hard liquor) containers. Please take these over yourself. He’ll continue to accept aluminum beer, cider, pop cans, coconut water cans, boxed wine cartons (leave them intact) and tetra juice packs, including (rinsed) milk and milk substitute con-tainers, Please leave the caps on and push the straws in.

If you have any questions, comments, suggestions for me and the qRD Let’s Talk Trash team, please get in touch. jennyv@lasqueti.ca or 8601

Previous Let's Talk Trash Articles

Image by Nadine Primeau

March 2022

Grow Your Own

LTT - Make a Garden

Image by Robert Hrovat

February 2022

Milk Cartons - Recycle

LTT - February 2022

Image by James Lee

January 2022

What Can I Recycle?

LTT - January 2022

Image by Gary Chan

December 2021

Tracking our Waste

LTT - Dec 2021

Image by Dave Hoefler

November 2021

Natural Burial

LTT - November 2021


October 2021

Used Oil

LTT - October 2021

September 2021


LTT - Sept 2021


August 2021


LTT - August 2021

Image by Brian Yurasits

July 2021

Compostable Plastics

LTT - July 2021

Image by Naja Bertolt Jensen

June 2021

Ocean Plastic Pollution

LTT - June 2021

Image by Myfanwy Owen

May 2021

Green Cleaning

LTT - May 2021

April 2021

Burn Smart - Stoves

LTT - April 2021


March 2021

Recycle BC

LTT - March 2021

February 2021

Plastic Water Bottles

LTT - Feb 2021

Image by Roberto Sorin

January 2021


LTT - Jan 2021

Further Reading on The Local . . .


Medicinal Plants


Last Resort Society


Lasqueti Arts Centre


Lasqueti Archeaology