Upon completion of our Restart project there were nearly 6,000 binders deemed surplus on our site. We could have easily shipped the binders to landfill for disposal at a minimal cost of $470, but we soon realized these binders would take up 35 m3 of landfill space.
Employees from Business Services, Civil Maintenance, Facilities, and Environment & Sustainability knew there was a lot more value in the binders than a net loss of $470.
Binders were sorted into three piles – reuse on site, donate or deconstruct. Over 3,000 binders were reused on site, saving the company $12,000. Nearly 1,300 binders were donated to schools in the area, creating an off-site value of around $5,000, and 1,487 binders were deemed unusable. Initially there was no solution for disposal, but we couldn’t accept that nothing could be done, so in partnership with the Grey Bruce Sustainability Network we were able to arrange for members of our Community Living group to add binder deconstruction to their waste segregation portfolio and take apart binders for an agreed upon cost for each. This resulted in an off-site income for these community members, as well as unquantifiable social enjoyment. The binders were deconstructed into three parts – cardboard, vinyl and metal.
There was 282 lbs of cardboard donated to local summer camps, daycare centres and Kindergarten classes. The cardboard was valued by a local art shop and was deemed to have generated a local off-site value of $2,974.
There was 144 lbs of metal that was able to be recycled and generated a small off-site value for the landfill of $10.
After everything was repurposed of recycled all that was left was 170 lbs of vinyl that fit into six bags, taking up only 0.61m³ of space. The deconstruction effort resulted in an 82% reduction of waste needing to be disposed of in landfill. Initially if we had sent 1,487 binders to landfill it would have required and offset of nearly 80 trees versus an actual offset of less than one tree.