Excellence in business and community commitment are all ways to describe ABC Recycling, a company Burnaby is proud to call one of its own. In 2013 ABC Recycling was inducted into the Burnaby Business Hall of Fame and in the same year was also the recipient for the Recycling Council of BC Environmental Achievement Award. In 2012 it was listed on the top 100 Private companies in BC. Its list of awards and accolades is long and distinguished.
The Burnaby Board of Trade (BBOT) was thrilled of course to have ABC Recycling jump on board as one of the early adopters of the BBOT Pledge for a Sustainable Community which launched in the fall of 2012.
Karen Bichin, ABC’s Community Relations Manager, recently shared with the BBOT some of the goals and challenges in making their organization more sustainable.
BBOT: When did sustainability become a consideration for your organization?
Karen: Being a scrap metal processor, the core of our business is about sustainability. However, the actual notion of sustainability throughout all areas of our business did not really become a consideration until fairly recently. We have been a member of the Recycling Council of British Columbia (RCBC) for many years which has exposed us to sustainability initiatives within organizations. We took the Pledge for a Sustainable Burnaby in 2012 and then formed a Green Team to start addressing some of our issues and concerns.
BBOT: How did you choose what you should tackle?
Karen: We started off with some of the things that were a bit easier to tackle and achieve success such as our in-house recycling and composting.
BBOT: Are there any particular sustainable initiatives that have impacted your organization?
Karen: In-house recycling and composting. People feel good about being able to “do the right thing” and knowing their efforts are having a positive impact.
BBOT: Has sustainability had a favourable (or any other kind of impact) on your organization?
Karen: It has raised people’s awareness about waste reduction and avoidance.
BBOT: They say that organizations who undertake sustainable measures are at the beginning of a long process or journey. Are there next steps or goals for ABC Recycling in terms of objectives?
Karen: Water filtration system to replace some of our water coolers; gradual installation of light sensors in high traffic areas; implement initiatives in Burnaby (head office) first and then roll-out company-wide.
BBOT: What obstacles or barriers have you encountered and how did you overcome them (or how are you overcoming them)?
Karen: Training staff and contractors on correct procedures. When we first introduced our in-house recycling program there was a lack of follow-through due to inadequate training and education. We conducted an informal audit to identify the problems and were able to come up with solutions. For example, we discovered that our plastics were not being sorted and recycled. We now contract the same service provider who picks up our organics to pick up our plastics.
BBOT: Has the taking the Pledge helped ABC Recycling communicate its sustainability-related goals and initiatives internally with staff, or outside the company with clients?
Karen: Yes, it has helped us to begin to identify and articulate our sustainability-related goals and initiatives internally with staff and externally.