2013 Rs of Excellence Award Winners

2013 Building Operations Award: Bentall Kennedy Mock Waste Assessments

Bentall Kennedy worked with Green Calgary to trial mock waste assessments in four of their Class A office buildings in downtown Calgary. This was undertaken to provide education to building tenants and as a form of tenant engagement.

A day’s worth of waste was collected and saved from each building on the day prior to the mock waste assessment. Depending on the volume, all, or a portion of the waste (at least 50%) was taken to a busy area within the building lobby or plus 15 area and placed as a demonstration to tenants of the amount of garbage collected per a day in their building.

Along with this, a display was set up with data from the previous waste assessment conducted at each building, including data such as their current diversion rate, waste composition, composition of recycled materials and calculated potential recycling rate.

These mock waste assessments proved to be quite successful with 200 individuals approaching the display to speak with Green Calgary and Bentall Kennedy staff. Valuable information was collected from tenants, ranging from concerns, confusion and recommendations for improvement of current programs.

The “shock factor” provided by these types of displays at worst may have opened people’s eyes to what happens when they throw something “away” and at best led to very productive conversations about the impact of waste in our world.

A follow-up report was provided to Bentall Kennedy from each building, and all comments were tracked and recorded in relation to the tenant’s company, floor number, and if they would like to be contacted. Bentall Kennedy tenant services managers were then able to respond accordingly to the issues that individuals expressed through this process. For more information on Bentall Kennedy’s green initiatives, please visit http://cr.bentallkennedy.com.

2013 Waste Reduction Service Award: BluPlanet Recycling

BluPlanet Recycling Inc. is a Calgary-based multi-family and commercial recycling solutions provider. Since commencement of operations in 2009, they have become the largest provider of commingled recycling in the city with over 15,000 multi-family residences and over 200 businesses using their services today. They are a member of the UNEP Climate Neutral Network, proud member of the Vibrant Communities Calgary Living Wage Leader Program, active member of the Respect for Earth and People (REAP) association, and in 2011 became Calgary’s 4th business to become a registered Benefit Corporation (B-Corp), who set one of the highest standards for business social and environmental sustainability in the world.

Additionally, BluPlanet operates several partner programs with local not-for-profit organizations to raise funds through refundable beverage container and clothing donation programs. In 2013, they expect to divert over 1000 tonnes of materials from Calgary landfills and have expanded their service offering which, besides the core group of recyclable materials, also includes electronics, paint, batteries, compact fluorescent light-bulbs, organic composting, large-volume cardboard and a new fluorescent tube recycling service. In short, their goal is to be the recycling service provider in Canada with the most comprehensive and valuable offering available.

It has always been a paramount goal of BluPlanet to maintain a solid triple-bottom line (even before they knew what that meant). Their growth and success as a company is measured by how well they serve the community and environment, as much as financial gains.

2013 Retail Award: Park Place Shopping Centre

Park Place Shopping Centre is a regional shopping centre located in downtown Lethbridge, Alberta. The building is operated by Primaris Management Inc., whose approach to sustainability is fourfold, comprising the establishment of internal policies and adherence to industry standards; sustainable procurement; conservation of energy and water; and recycling of materials.

Under the direction of Primaris’ corporate social responsibility, Park Place aims to not only reduce the impacts of business on the natural environment, but to positively contribute to both the local city of Lethbridge and global humanitarian efforts. The mall’s unique approaches to waste management and recycling have yielded quantified reductions in waste, including:

  • Approximately 100 pounds of scrap metal reused to create functional and stylish benches to furnish the common area
  • Approximately 1.11 metric tonnes (MT) of organics composted onsite each year for use in the mall’s rooftop garden, where a 75-pound capacity composter is used to process pre-consumer organic waste generated by food service retailers. The mall donates the garden’s yield  to Harbor House, a local crisis unit for women and children involved in family violence
  • Approximately 550 MT of concrete salvaged for use in a local habitat restoration project
  • Approximately 57.3 MT of electronics directed toward environmentally-safe disposal through two electronics recycling drives
  • Approximately 116 MT of cardboard, wood and metal, as well as 13,699 cans and bottles recycled through a fundraising event (Green for Haiti)
  • Approximately 2,230 pounds of textile waste diverted from landfills through a fundraising event (Jeans for Teens)

In addition, 100% of the common areas, food court and offices are now powered with green electricity and natural gas. The centre is currently investigating renewable resource technology (wind, solar, photovoltaic, etc.). There are four parking stalls designated specifically for hybrid vehicles in the parking lot, and it is a requirement that car companies which display cars in the mall must have at least one hybrid vehicle on display at all times.

Water-tolerant indigenous shrubs and evergreens, suitable to Lethbridge’s climate, are planted around the property, and both interior and exterior landscaping avoid the use of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and petroleum-based products.

2013 Special Event Award: Calgary Folk Music Festival

Calgary Folk Music Festival (CFMF) has a number of sustainability efforts such as: encouraging cycling to and from the festival, recycling materials from cardboard to organics, providing tree seedlings to participants to offset the carbon emissions created by the festival, using compostable cutlery and dishware festival-wide, making the festival disposable water bottle free, and the well-known Festival Plate program.

Since 2010, CFMF has been working hard to decrease the amount of waste going to landfill and increase its diversion rate. In 2010, the festival had a diversion rate of 30%, followed by 58% in 2011, 74% in 2012 and 86% in 2013.

CFMF Environment Crew volunteers are very dedicated to lightening the environmental footprint of this popular event through constant supervision of waste stations, and even sorting through bags of waste and recycling in order to decrease the amount of contamination in all of the streams.

Through a combination of initiatives (plate recycling program, recycling stations and compost collection) CFMF was able to divert 86% of waste produced during the 2013 festival to reuse, recycling and composting facilities. The CFMF waste diversion rate has increased by over 45% since 2008, when the CFMF began measuring the total waste produced at the Festival.

2013 Zero Waste Award: PepsiCo Foods Canada

PepsiCo Foods Canada (PFC), including manufacturing plants in Taber and Lethbridge, has been working for many years to reduce the waste sent to landfill. PFC set a goal to reach near zero landfill (NZLF) status, which is defined as sending less than one percent of the company’s waste to landfill.

To achieve this, the company created a NZLF project which aims to reduce or eliminate the use of non-reusable and non-recyclable materials in all PFC facilities, reduce waste to landfill from PFC operations to near zero, and transform waste disposal costs into material revenues. The first step was to establish plant-level teams. The teams needed to be cross-functional in order to lead such a large project effectively.

With these plant-level teams established, team members focused on identifying predominant waste streams and developing scorecards to track all waste leaving the facility. Once PFC’s waste streams were identified and quantified, a database of waste generation and related costs and revenues for each stream was established. At this stage, the focus of the program shifted to the separation of waste. Clearly-marked receptacles were strategically placed throughout the facilities to separate and collect waste.

Employee training sessions were held to raise awareness of the various separation techniques required by the project. With the waste streams separated, the NZLF teams shifted their attention to finding end-users for the waste and identifying material revenue opportunities. PFC programs designed to divert production waste from landfill include:

  • Waste oil used to make biofuel
  • Food waste used as animal feed
  • Potato starch recovered and sold
  • Packaging cartons reused several times and then recycled into new cartons
  • Waste packaging film recycling
  • Cardboard recycling
  • Damaged pallets recycling
  • Plastics and metal recycling

Although diverting waste away from landfill is an excellent starting point, PFC felt that physically reducing the amount of waste produced and eliminating the use of non-recyclable materials would be the logical next step in the NZLF journey. As such, PFC employees are continually working on improving processes to reduce resource consumption and use more environmentally-friendly materials. PFC’s near zero landfill teams process data and review their progress every four weeks on a local level. Best practices are then shared nationally as part of the company-wide effort to reduce PFC’s waste to landfill to less than 1%.

PFC has had tremendous success with its journey to near zero landfill program. From 2012 to present, PFC has diverted more than 99% of its waste away from landfill sites. That equates to approximately 70,000 tons of waste diverted away from landfills annually.

While PFC previously paid landfill tipping fees for 70,000 tons of waste annually, the company now generates revenue from starch, food waste, used oil and cardboard reuse streams. The net result is that waste disposal has been transformed from an operating cost into a revenue source; proof that what is good for the planet can also be good for business.