2020 Rs of Excellence Award Winners
The 2020 Rs of Excellence Awards were presented at the RCA’s AGM held online October 14, 2020.
Municipal Program Award – Vulcan & District Waste Commission
The Vulcan & District Waste Commission pesticide container collection site, managed by Dick Ellis, is one of the largest locations in Alberta and went from being one of the most challenging sites in 2017 to one of the best sites by 2019. Dick and his team put a tremendous amount of time and effort in upgrading the on-site infrastructure, providing increased oversight of the collection area, and improved engagement and communication with participating farmers. The changes have helped Vulcan County improve the health and safety on site, and increase their collection volumes at the site by nearly 30% since 2016, making Vulcan the 3rd largest collection site in the province.
Waste Reduction Leadership Award – Calgary Co-op
When the pandemic hit this spring, grocery stores quickly moved to prohibit customers bringing their reusable bags into the store. However, Calgary Co-op stuck to their waste reductions principles, allowing the use of reusable bags to continue long after others had eliminated the practice. In order to ensure protection of their employees and customers, and adherence to Alberta Health Services rules, Calgary Co-op did discontinue customer reusable bags in their system for a very short period while upgrading their grocery bagging operations. But, they immediately followed by again supporting the practice of customers using their own bags. This continues, while many other stores still do not accept reusable bags.
Waste Reduction Leadership Award – Sobeys
In support of the announcement in July 2019 that Sobeys would no longer provide plastic bags at checkout, a project plan was immediately developed, and a Working Committee was created with stakeholders from across the business. On January 31st, 2020, 255 Sobeys stores across the country said goodbye to single-use plastic bags at the checkout counter, the first national grocer to take this bold step. During the pandemic, they made the decision to stick with the reusable bag system based on public health information.
Eliminating and removing 225 million grocery bags from circulation annually was the first step in Sobeys ongoing efforts to reduce single-use plastic, but it doesn’t stop there. On October 1 2020, they also removed single-use plastic checkout bags from all stores in Atlantic Canada and IGA stores in Quebec. The grocery chain continues to work with cross-functional internal teams and valued community and industry partners, to determine new and innovative solutions to tackle the plastic waste issue.