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Let’s Talk Trash – Consultant calls Trash Audit Results “Incredible”

Recycling is an-ever growing trend in Kamloops. In 2013, our office there decided to take a look at how much trash they were producing. Back then, the office’s volunteer-run Sustainability Committee, headed up by Ila Sutherland, set out to understand just how much waste the office was producing and how they could improve. Now, several years later, the results from two different waste audits are in and they’re impressive, showing that a little effort goes a long way.

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Marcia Dick – Waste Minimization Specialist, Waste Naught BC
Marcia Dick from Waste Naught BC, who conducted the initial audit for Urban, says back in 2013 she and her team first aimed to provide a snapshot of the office’s waste stream and offer some suggestions on ways to improve.

“The team at Urban made some big changes and we are blown away at what they’ve achieved now, just a few years later. They went ahead and implemented onsite composting for food scraps, centralized a waste system, removed garbage cans from beside staff members’ desks, things like that. Also, previously, people from the team were taking recycling home so a lot of paper ended up in confidential shredder bin when it didn’t need to. That degrades the quality of recycling – we were able to help that by going to a mixed recycling system right on site.”

With those and other changes in place, things started to improve quickly. Ila says the team had some initial growing pains in the very beginning, but it quickly became old hat. “People weren’t sure what could go where, what is appropriate for compost mixed recycling, where the Starbucks cup should go, that kind of thing. But now we really have it nailed down.”

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

The-Zero-Waste-ProjectThe second audit was in May 2016 and Marcia says the results were incredible. “I just couldn’t believe it. Landfill waste decreased by 116% and even though the diversion rate increased from 69% in 2013 to 80% in 2016, the total amount of recycled/ diverted materials decreased by 21%. They’ve really dialed into a process. This is a company that’s a shining example of showing initiative and leadership and most importantly, results.”

Marcia also works with other larger institutions that see the value in reducing their waste output, such as the City of Kamloops, TRU, non-profits and the farmer’s market. She says that more and more people are starting to see the value of managing their waste stream for the betterment of the community.

“Urban is such a great example. It just goes to show that with a little bit of effort and resources and some upfront work, real change is possible. It’s about changing the system, it’s no more work, it’s just different work. By being open to the changes here is a team that’s been able to have long term impacts on the environment and the community. This was the biggest success story I’ve seen, and it’s inspiring for others. Way to go Urban Systems.”

Read our original post titled “The Zero Waste Project“, from November 2014.

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