A program of waste minimization requires action on many different fronts, but pays off in many ways as well — including reduced costs. Three entrants in the Waste Minimization Awards of the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) show a variety of strategies and tactics in their waste-minimization programs that could be useful information to other companies and organizations..
As a leader in the international development, manufacturing and marketing of office systems and related office furniture and products, Teknion is the centre of a vast network of suppliers and customers.
In 2003, the company set a focus on sustainable development, and developed a program that considered the factors it could influence in its supply chain and production methods.
Teknion’s sustainability drive included registering all its manufacturing sites and administrative offices to the international environmental process standard ISO 14001, which calls for a concerted program of minimizing environmental impacts. Other certifications included the ECO Logo (Canada’s Environmental Choice Program) and the Globe Foundation Award in 2007 — the highest recognition in Canada and well known in the United States for environmental performance — for Environmental Excellence.
Teknion is also a consistent winner of the RCO’s Waste Minimization Award, including the Gold Award in 2007. Teknion’s statistics on waste minimization show the company’s progress.
Landfill-destined waste, in tonnes generated per $100,000 in sales: 0.90 in 2003; 0.35 in 2007;
Diversion rate from landfill (diverted waste compared to total waste): 45 percent in 2002; 87 percent in 2007;
Diversion of waste, in tonnes: 7,891 in 2003; 12,311 in 2007. Some improvements in the company’s waste footprint have come through changes to the company’s products.
For example, Teknion moved away from using backing panels made of three materials — fiberglass, steel and polyester — that were difficult to separate at the end of the product’s life. The new panels are now made of just two materials, steel and polyester, using a new laminating machine that controls the amount of adhesive applied, allowing easy separation of steel frame and polyester when the product is recycled.
As the site of the Canadian National Exhibition each fall as well as a wide range of events throughout the year, Exhibition Place in central Toronto sees 5.3 million visitors annually.
As part of its initiative to reduce its environmental footprint, Exhibition Place’s plan is to use diversion, recycling and reduction of waste to become 80 percent waste-free by 2010. Initiatives include:
Four-stream recycling to separate and recycle waste materials including glass, paper, wood, plastic and organic compost at three of its buildings: Direct Energy Centre, Allstream Centre and Better Living Centre;
Three-stream recycling to separate and recycle waste materials (glass, plastic, paper, waste on the exterior grounds;
Two-stream recyclers (plastics and organics) at BMO Field for zero-waste events;
Direct Energy Centre uses and recycles 100 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) hand towels for all public washrooms, with used towels being composted;
Direct Energy Centre uses recycling and safe disposal programs for items such as batteries, fluorescent lamps, paint and toner cartridges;
Perishable food is donated to shelters and food banks in Toronto, and food waste is donated to local farmers.
About 99.27 percent of the 1,791,000 kilogram waste stream of this Kitchener Ontariobased manufacturer of furniture components is diverted from landfill through recycling and re-use, according to an independent audit by AET Consultants. Most of the diverted material is scrap metal. About 88 percent of the remaining waste is diverted.
CompX has a recycling program for corrugated cardboard, recyclable paper, shredded paper, food and beverage containers, scrap metal, wood, low-density polyethylene, polyvinyl chlorinate (including strapping), tissue/ toweling and organics.
At the other end of the product’s lifecycle, CompX says, the products it manufactures are 94 to 99 percent recyclable, and products contain 45 to 60 percent recyclable material.
Carl Friesen is a writer based in Mississauga, Ontario who specializes in helping business professionals build their profile through published articles. He is a Senior Associate with emerson consulting group inc. Contact Carl at 289-232-4057 or
“CompX says, the products
it manufactures are 94 to 99 percent recyclable, and
products contain 45 to 60 percent recyclable material.”