Many people wonder how to dispose of Styrofoam and other packaging after they’ve purchased products such as a TV or computer, once they get these items home. Since Styrofoam is not recycled as part of most municipal recycling programs, the majority of Styrofoam still goes to landfill.
London Drugs offers a solution that makes the recycling process easy for consumers. Through a partnership with Genesis Recycling, London Drugs offers an in-store take-back packaging recycling program.
Founded in 1945, B.C.-based London Drugs currently has 70 stores in more than 35 major markets throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The company employs more than 7,500 people and carries a diverse range of health and consumer electronic products. The company appears to “get it” that offering product stewardship to customers creates a competitive advantage, as it deepens the relationship with customers.
Customers can simply leave product packaging at London Drugs’ customer service desks as they leave with their purchases, from perfume boxes and cardboard packaging to toothpaste boxes and Styrofoam from a microwave purchase or a boxed appliance.
In the case of Styrofoam, the pesky packing material is picked up at all of London Drugs 70 stores and collected at its warehouse before shipping to partner Genesis Recycling. There, the Styrofoam blocks are heated with special machinery and condensed into polystyrene “pucks,” each about the size of a hatbox and weighing about 20 kilograms. The pucks become a commodity that’s then shipped and sold to be remanufactured into new products.
At this stage, though, Styrofoam recycling is an added cost to London Drugs.
“In its expanded form, polystyrene is very inefficient to ship,” says Clint Mahlman, London Drugs Senior Vice President. “One whole semi-truckload only weighs about 1.5 tonnes so it’s very labor intensive to collect and ship for recycling. But we’re committed to making this program work, both for our customers’ convenience and the capacity of our landfills.”
Here are some quick facts about London Drugs Styrofoam recycling:
• London Drugs fills at least one semi truck per week with Styrofoam to go to recycling.
• Over the last 18 months, London Drugs stores across Western Canada diverted 50,000 pounds of Styrofoam from going to the landfill.
• London Drugs has been recycling Styrofoam since March 2007, with partner Genesis Recycling in Aldergrove, B.C.
• London Drugs only accepts packaging of products sold at London Drugs.
“As a company, we continue to work diligently with our suppliers to reduce Styrofoam used in products and packaging,” says Mahlman. “But we’re also looking at long-term solutions to divert this waste from going to landfills. Our ‘What’s the Green Deal’ program www.greendeal.ca is a ‘beyond blue box’ initiative that attempts to give consumers more options for recycling materials that previously ended up in the garbage.”
The following list outlines the many items customers can bring back to London Drugs as part of the company’s comprehensive recycling program:
• Cell phones, PDA and rechargeable batteries
• Alkaline Batteries
• Disposable cameras
• Ink jet cartridges
• Laser cartridges
• Metal film canisters
• Plastic bags
• Pop bottles and cans (BC only)
• Electrical and Electronic goods (TVs, VCRs, computers, monitors, printers etc)
• Small Appliances (purchased at London Drugs)
• Styrofoam packaging from our products
• Cardboard packaging from our products
• Insurance plastic folders
• Laser cartridges
• Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs)
• fluorescent light tubes up to 4-foot lengths On items not purchased at London Drugs, recycling fees will apply to offset recycling costs. The company will gladly waive these fees if the item was purchased at London Drugs and customers have the receipt.
Guy Crittenden is editor of this magazine. Contact Guy at firstname.lastname@example.org
“In the last 18 months, London Drugs has prevented more than 40 semi-truck loads of Styrofoam (some 50,000 lbs) from entering landfills.
To see how Styrofoam is converted visit www.greendeal.ca to view the video