Our Story

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In the Beginning …

It’s hard to remember a time before Blue Boxes and municipal recycling, but for Robert and Louise, that feels like yesterday and is indelibly inked as the seed of RA.

In 1989, galvanized by garbage, Louise and Robert started Recycling Alternative with a hatchback and a trash-busting bug to help offices recycle their office paper.

They quickly outgrew the hatchback, graduated to a van, then trucks, and began to broaden their service to include bottles and cans, shredding services, electronic waste and most recently organics and zero waste programs.

Fortunately, by the early 1990’s, adding to their voices in the wilderness of waste, public awareness and government policy began to focus on recycling and waste reduction efforts, and the stage was set to ramp up operations and dive head first into some serious trash-busting.

Born and raised in Vancouver until he was 10, Robert grew up in London and attended school in the UK. Thankfully, Robert’s background in mechanical engineering has been a saving grace at RA, and has been the driving force behind our operations as we have grown from strength to strength over the last 20 years under his guidance and mechanical aptitude! When not recycling the world or inventing new trash-busting trucks, Robert can be found hitting the slopes and walking his very large dog in the forests of North Vancouver.

Louise grew up in Vancouver and studied Political Science, Spanish Literature, and Education. Before her trash-busting days, Louise attended school in Mexico, lived in Italy for 3 yrs and spent 5 years teaching middle school in Edinburgh. Off the trash-busting tracks, Louise hits a mean backhand, sings soul gospel, paints ceramics, and possesses an exaggerated predilection for trash-talking.

Louise sits on the boards of the Cultch, Our Social Fabric, BC Biodiesel Association, and the Advisory Councils of Street Youth Job Action and Downtown Community Court.  In May 2012 she received the ‘Woman of Distinction Award’ for her work in environment and sustainability.  Recognized nationally as one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for women, the Women of Distinction Awards honours women whose outstanding achievements contribute to the well-being and future of our community.