Canadian Tire (Whitehorse)
Over the past 8 years, since moving into their new location at the bottom of 2 Mile Hill, Canadian Tire has been working hard to reduce the amount of product packaging and other waste that ends up in the garbage dumpster. Cardboard makes up a sizeable amount of the business’s waste product, and General Manager Dwayne Lesiuk estimates that they’re currently able to recycle about 99.5% of it. For the first three months of this past year, that added up to 3 million pounds. Two years ago, they also made an agreement with Raven Recycling that the recycling processor takes all of their waste metals and plastics, and that has reduced their garbage output significantly. Previously, they were producing enough garbage for there to be two 6-yard bins going to the landfill, 6 days a week, and another bin going 3 days a week. Since beginning their plastic and metal recycling, they’re only sending a single bin, 6 days a week, and Dwayne estimates that over all in the last two years they’ve cut their waste by 75%.
The most recent project has been to divert their organic waste, and in the last couple months Canadian Tire has become part of the pilot project for businesses to have their compost picked up by the City of Whitehorse. They’ve only had 3 pick-ups so far, but Dwayne says it’s already making a difference. That being said, he admits that more education is needed to really change the culture among the staff, in order to make diversion part of the regular routine. However, with that in place the only remaining items that don’t have an easy diversion path are wood waste and broken glass – though most wood waste in the form of broken pallets is put out behind the building for customers to pick up and use as scrap wood or kindling.
The motivation for Canadian Tire to increase its diversion comes from both the national and local levels. Nationally, the business is trying to increase environmental awareness and is stocking more “green” products of one kind or another. Along with that, Dwayne credits the local owner of Whitehorse’s Canadian Tire, who wants to see the store be a leader in corporate responsibility. When asked about whether he sees other businesses taking action to reduce waste, he notes that it seems to be the locally-owned businesses that are taking some of the most visible action toward Zero Waste. “Local owners also live here,” he points out, “they care about what can be done here in Whitehorse because they see it directly, and want to keep this place clean.” Not only that, but waste reduction has big financial incentives to go along with it – last year Canadian Tire saved about $15,000 on garbage hauling and landfill tipping fees.