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Case study

Rocky Mountaineer and Espressotec Tackle Waste

In early 2016, ten businesses took part in the False Creek Flats Leadership Group. The program, supported by the Vancouver Economic Commission and delivered by Climate Smart, works to help businesses in the False Creek Flats neighbourhood reduce their carbon emissions and water consumption.

Waste – sending less to landfill or incineration – emerged as an area of opportunity for several participating companies. The actions taken by the businesses below illustrate that any type of company can find ways to divert waste and reduce related greenhouse gas emissions, often while cutting costs at the same time.

Rocky Mountaineer – All Aboard the Green Train

Rocky Mountaineer offers luxury travel by rail through the “wild beauty of Canada’s West”.1 Rocky Mountaineer’s packages include opportunities to also experience great meals prepared from locally sourced ingredients by award-winning chefs. While participating in the Climate Smart program, Rocky Mountaineer learned that there were opportunities to reduce the volume of garbage sent to the landfill by focusing on diverting organic waste produced on their trains. Motivated by the enthusiasm of their staff, Rocky Mountaineer formed an on-train green team, switched to a waste hauler – Recycling Alternative – that could manage their organic waste, and developed a system to store waste overnight on the trains to allow for transportation to a composting facility.

Espressotec Aims for Zero Waste

Espressotec is an espresso machine retailer and servicing centre. The company is already diverting much of its waste. Cardboard from incoming shipments is reused for outgoing shipments or recycled. Paper is reused or recycled, and spent coffee grounds are composted. Plastics are collected and recycled, and retired machines are salvaged for parts. In the end, Espressotec only sends just over 300 kilograms of waste to the landfill annually. The company has decided to aim to become a zero-waste business by working towards a 90% diversion rate. According to Alison Ensworth, head of marketing and communications, “While going through the Climate Smart program we found that we were already doing a lot to minimize our impact, particularly when it came to waste diversion. So much of the waste is in fact quite easy to keep out of the landfill. We realized we could easily pursue a zero-waste strategy with minor adjustments to how we manage our garbage. This is not only an effort we can be proud of internally, it resonates with our customers.”

About Climate Smart and the False Creek Flats

Climate Smart is a social enterprise based in Vancouver, BC that enables small and medium-sized enterprises to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen their business, and build a resilient economy. Climate Smart’s unique combination of training, carbon accounting software, one-on-one support and certification builds capacity within businesses to track and reduce their impact, and to communicate the leadership they’re taking on climate action.

More than 300 City of Vancouver businesses have participated in Climate Smart’s training and certification program, and since 2016 the number of False Creek Flats-based businesses participating has doubled, supporting the shift toward a greener, more innovative, and more economically sustainable future for the Flats and contributing to the greening of jobs in light industrial sectors. You can learn the stories of these businesses here and if you are interested in joining to save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and get your business Climate Smart certified, contact us today.

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