| Posted: Saturday, Sep 28, 2013 06:00 am
Drugstore trashes trash
A St. Albert London Drugs outlet has become the first in Western Canada to get to almost zero waste.
The St. Albert London Drugs in Inglewood Centre Mall officially ditched its dumpster Monday after a months-long waste reduction effort. It’s the first store in the chain in western Canada to eliminate its on-site dumpster through waste diversion.
The store used to fill about half a dumpster with trash every three weeks, said Linda Helberg, the store’s stock handler and chief recycler. Now, as part of a chain-wide recycling effort, they’ve managed to trim that to two standard black garbage bags a week which go in the mall’s communal dumpster.
“We recycle almost everything here,” said Helberg, who is known as “Miss Green Jeans” at the store: paper, plastic, metal, glass, Styrofoam – even candy bar wrappers. About the only items they can’t recycle are plastic-coated paper coffee cups and certain metal foils.
While they’re not sure of their current waste diversion rate, store manager Brenda Marsh says it was at about 93 per cent as of July. (St. Albert’s diversion rate is at about 67 per cent, and is the highest in the Capital Region.) “From then till now, we were able to hone in on a couple of areas resulting in our current success!”
The toughest part was getting everyone on board, Helberg said. Copious memos and conversations to staff motivated everyone to sort their trash properly.
City solid waste programs co-ordinator Christian Benson said he was excited to hear this news. “London Drugs is obviously showing a leadership role in waste diversion.”
Households create just a third of the city’s waste stream, he noted, and cities have little influence over the 40-some per cent that comes from the industrial, institutional and commercial sector. “It is really encouraging to see businesses step up.”
Customers are starting to watch the green credentials of where they shop, Benson said, and businesses can reap benefits by reducing their waste.
Staffers now plan to focus on reducing their organic waste and using travel mugs instead of disposable coffee cups, Marsh said.
It feels pretty good to be number one, Helberg said. “It’s quite the accomplishment.”
Heritage creek restored
Helping hands will be hauling rocks this fall in Heritage Lakes as residents work to restore beauty to a local creek.
Bobcats were digging dirt this week alongside a sidewalk in Heritage Lakes as the latest phase of the Heritage Lakes Creek Restoration Project got underway.
The creek is a stormwater canal decorated with bridges and cobblestones to resemble a river, said Dale Fetterly, a director with the Heritage Lakes Community Association. It runs from Heritage Pond to Heritage Drive past Howard and Huntington Crescent.
The creek has become overrun with silt and plants in recent years, Fetterly said, and now looks like a grassy trail. Since around 2005, residents have been slowly excavating and weeding the creek to return it to its original state.
This year, lead by resident Laurie Schroder, the residents will finish restoration of the last 80-some metres of the creek.
Backed by about $72,000 in provincial and city grants, the group has hired a contractor to dig out the creek and uncover the original stones. “The silt is up to a foot deep,” Fetterly said, so they can’t do the job with shovels.
Volunteers will put down a geo-textile mat to inhibit weed growth, clean the rocks and rebuild the creek bed. The whole process should take about a month. Local trails would be closed while this work went on.
Fetterly said he had heard many positive comments about the project from residents, and thought it would help build connections between neighbours. “It’s sort of like an old barn-raising bee.”
Call Fetterly at 780-460-4276 for details.