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SWANA/SWRC Reforum 2014 Conference Kicks Off


The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) and the Saskatchewan Waste Recycling Council (SWRC) Reforum 2014 kicked off in Regina this morning. It has brought together 250 plus delegates and 35+ exhibitors. The delegates are largely from Saskatchewan and Alberta with a smattering of MB, BC and NWT folks and a few Ontarions.

(Looking across the (very full) room the most interesting outfit is the fellow wearing the number 16 Montreal Canadiens Henri Richard jersey (go Habs) and hat).

A few morning highlights follow:

Regina has set a goal of 40% waste diversion goal by 2015 and 60% waste diversion goal by 2020. They recently launched a bi-weekly blue box program and report that almost 90% have fully embraced the program. They have a contamination rate of about 10%. In the future they may consider bi-weekly garbage and weekly blue box.

Keynote speaker David White from Synergy delivered a bit of a new-agey overview of how to proceed, progress and be resilient. A five point alliterative manifesto- encapsulated using a vegetable metaphor (peas in a pod): Passion, Purpose, Promise, Posture and Partnership.

Terra Cycle’s (https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/) Nina Purewal walked through the company’s recycling initiatives. “We are addicted to consumption.” They go after those wastes that are not obviously recyclable or more difficult to recycle. They are largely funded by various brand owners (e.g. Johnson and Johnson, Costco, Sharpie). Among other innovative programs they started a cigarette recycling program in Vancouver in 2013. The Recycling Council of Alberta’s Christina Seidel commented that what the company did was “cool” but what is done to prevent corporate green washing (e.g. K-cups). Terra Cycle the reply was that they sit with brand-owners at the start and ask them what their long term plans are for their waste materials.

London Drugs is a fourth generation family owned company with well known and progressive environmental initiatives.(http://blog.londondrugs.com/category/recyling) They have four key pillars they focus on for their environmental initiatives: 1. Upstream buying 2. Minimize energy and operational upstream/downstream costs. 3. Recycling/Re-Use and waste management programs. 4. Educate and inform employees and customers. They have achieved 88% waste diversion rate as of 2013 and have a goal of 95% by 2015.

Mountain Equipment Cooperatives (https://www.mec.ca/AST/ContentPrimary/AboutMEC/Sustainability.jsp) is well known for its various environmental initiatives (not to mention selling great outdoor equipment. They are a business with 1,400 employees that generate about $320 million in annual sales. They have a value “donut”: 1.People-ethical sourcing (Audit all factories to start and then at least every three years.); 2. Planet- green operations (includes waste diversion rate of 92%). 3. Product- Integrity and Footprint (make products that last a long time). 4. Community Involvement (1% for the Planet- $3.2 million in 2014). For them their various environmental programs helps them develop trust with their clients. “it is a moral imperative.” A long term goal is carbon neutrality.