Urban real estate tenants have become increasingly aware of environmental issues and many are requesting that property managers do more to reduce waste generation from commercial buildings. Certain waste and recycling service providers are helping property managers reduce and even eliminate waste.
On such service provider is Turtle Island Recycling — the company responsible for orchestrating a first in the waste management field: a zero waste event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in 2007. Since then Turtle Island has helped a number of high-profile commercial locations implement strategies to move them towards a zero waste designation. Some of the company’s clients have been recognized by organizations such as the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) for their waste minimization efforts.
Ontario’s environment ministry recently highlighted the HBC Simpson Tower in Toronto for its zero waste designation, achieved as a result of implementing Turtle Island’s unique zero waste program.
For the Simpson Tower office building, the company’s environmental staff evaluated all the material generated from the building and concluded that a zero waste program could be successfully implemented in short order. The company then set up three separate services: paper recycling, multi-material recycling (plastic, metal, glass) and organics composting.
Custodial staff were instructed to not collect improperly sorted material; tenants received regular reminders on how to properly use the bins for the three streams. Special collection was arranged to recycle special materials that couldn’t be placed in any of the three diversion streams. These materials included ink cartridges, fluorescent bulbs and electronics. The company provided continuous support and training, as well as recording and monitoring of the program.
Turtle Island maintains what it considers the most effective waste sortation line in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) at its local waste transfer station. This line enables the removal of recyclables from the general non-hazardous comingled material stream.
By diverting organics at the source, the comingled stream can be more effectively mined for recyclables. Materials in this stream are mostly generated within the office area, including office work stations, copy rooms and meeting rooms. All materials generated in these areas are collected in a desk-side bin, then processed at the transfer facility.
Roxanne Dixon BSc., pgcert. EMA, is an Environmental Specialist with Turtle Island Recycling Corp. in Toronto, Ontario. Contact Roxanne at email@example.com