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RCO study aims to close knowledge gap for IC&I waste data


It’s consistently reported that the industrial, commercial, and institutional (IC&I) sector generates the majority of Canada’s waste. To help gain a better understanding of why this is the case, and what can be done to improve, the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) is leading a National Solid Waste Benchmarking Study to analyze collection and recycling rates in the office and retail subsectors.

There are two ways to submit information: Study participants can respond on behalf of a single office or retail property, or on behalf of a portfolio of buildings. The Portfolio Survey enables participants to answer qualitative questions from an organizational perspective and upload spreadsheet with performance information for a group of properties. The Building Survey enables participants to answer qualitative questions about a single property, along with performance information. Waste audit data may be uploaded or entered directly online. 

“Energy and water benchmarking studies in Canada and the U.S. help inform buildings’ carbon footprint,” said RCO Executive Director Jo-Anne St. Godard in a statement. “By adding solid waste, we will get a complete picture of environmental performance. Industry associations, building managers, and waste service providers have all contributed to the development of this project, and there is real need to understand performance and drivers,” she added.

The survey includes mandatory and voluntary questions. Participants may save and return to the online survey until the submission deadline by July 31, 2014.

  • Building information (type; city; province/territory; size)
  • Waste management information (services; billing type)
  • Performance data (total generated in 2013; total reused, recycled and disposed in 2013)
  • Waste and recycling programs (challenges, on-site corporate programs.

To acquire the necessary data, the study invites commercial and institutional office buildings, retail centres and standalone retail stores to submit quantitative and qualitative information anonymously. The information will then be analyzed and published in a report as aggregated data to set performance benchmarks and inform best practices along with detailed analysis, conclusions and recommendations.

“The National Solid Waste Benchmarking Study provides a platform to survey and collect waste data directly from a major subsector of IC&I, and is the first major undertaking of its kind in Canada,” said St. Godard. “There is opportunity to provide support to office and retail properties across the country and help them improve their waste reduction and diversion performance. Gathering accurate data is the first step.”

Through specialized voluntary and anonymous surveys, annual waste generation and diversion data will be collected to calculate performance specifically by building type. The results will be published in fall 2014.

For more information on National Solid Waste Benchmarking Study and to take part, visit www.rco.on.ca/benchmarking. Webinars about the study are available on May 6 and May 30, 2014.


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