Not pulp fiction

Damaged Squamish Terminals pulp diverted from landfill to become a product that helps grow grass

Green grass growing in the Yukon could have its roots at Squamish Terminals.

The local port sends its damaged pulp — between 25 to 50 tonnes worth per year — to TerraStar Solutions, a company based in Bowen Island but which stores equipment in Squamish, where it is converted into hydroseeding materials.

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Hydroseeding was developed in the 1950s and is a method of shooting grass seed onto the earth from trucks or pump equipment. This method is used for vegetating large civil construction projects, establishing fine turf, controlling surface erosion, or mitigating dust.

"We normally use wood fibre, but we can use pulp," Gord Dawson, president, and CEO of TerraStar, told The Chief.

"It does a really good job. It grows grass well."

Squamish Terminals started the initiative of diverting damaged pulp from the landfill in mid-2019, according to Erin Yeo, manager of customer service and community relations for the Terminals.

"Squamish Terminals is always focused on any environmental initiatives that we can improve on and that was one of them," she said.

Previously, the unusable pulp — which was waterlogged or damaged in transport, for example — ended up at the Squamish Landfill.

Pulp is a wood-based raw material that comes from various mills, mostly based in Northern B.C., and is exported from Squamish, overseas. Pulp could end up being made into paper, tissue, board, and specialty paper.

The only complaint Dawson said he has had from his hydroseeding customers is that the product doesn't come out green when it first shoots out but is white or a cardboard-like colour.

"It looks more like a paste. Depending on the stuff, the normal pulp turns a whiter colour until the grass grows in. It starts out kind of grey, turns white, and then green."

Some people prefer that original paste to be green, even for the short period as the grass grows, he said.

"It works great. So, if anyone wants an undyed lawn, that is what we use."

Dawson said his company works year-round on the south coast, and seasonally up north.

The company has clients throughout western Canada and the Yukon. It does a lot of erosion control for civil projects such as highways and pipelines, mines, hydro right-of-ways, according to Dawson.

The company also puts in lawns at private homes.

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