Recycling Alternative sets the foundation for a new centre in the collaborative economy
June 3, 2014 Vancouver, BC On June 1, Recycling Alternative took its place as the founding company of the new GreenHUB, a recycling co-location model that just opened its doors in the False Creek Flats.
Back in 2009, Louise Schwarz and Robert Weatherbe, co-founders of Recycling Alternative, conceived of a collaborative model in which recycling companies offering various services could locate together to benefit from operational efficiencies, and provide employment opportunities for marginalized individuals. Seeing first-hand how working collaboratively with like-minded businesses had allowed them to extend their reach and grow their business, Louise and Robert started to develop the concept of a recycling HUB, where companies could share a facility, and work together to achieve economies of scale while leading local innovation in the field of waste reduction.
With support from Vancity, Recycling Alternative carried out an initial feasibility study on the model, and approached the City of Vancouver with the idea in June 2011. Almost three years to the day, they opened their doors. The new location, at 449 Industrial, is a city-owned property that operated as a former recycling facility. The GreenHUB will be shared by Recycling Alternative, as a market tenant, and United We Can, the non-profit bottle depot that recently moved from the Downtown Eastside.
While continuing to run their respective organizations independently, the key to the co-location model for the two organizations will be the development of opportunities to work and employ together and increase inclusive green jobs in the inner city.
“Recycling Alternative is pioneering a strategy that will create operating efficiencies and increase competitiveness of the partners, “says Vancity’s Green Business Manager, Maureen Cureton. “We hope this model will be expanded and replicated to enable more green businesses to thrive and prosper while generating broader social and environmental benefits.” The GreenHUB also supports a number of Vancouver’s Greenest City goals, including waste reduction and recycling, and building a robust, local green economy.
“We want this GreenHUB to be the anchor in an area we see evolving into an incubator for those firms with the dedication and foresight to develop and provide fresh thinking and new solutions to upcycling, recycling, waste reduction and diversion. It’s really an on the ground, operating opportunity for emerging firms in the green industry, and a model for business collaboration,” says Robert Weatherbe.
“Our vision is for this part of the False Creek Flats to become the Granville Island of industrial green enterprises,” says Louise Schwarz, “an area that will be home to innovation in waste reduction, recycling, recovery and reclaiming of materials, forging new business opportunities for an emerging local green economy.”
Recycling Alternative is ideally suited to be the founding member of the GreenHUB, as it is all-too-familiar with the challenges of innovation and start up. The company was born in the back of a hatchback when co-founder, Louise Schwarz was galvanized by garbage. Realizing there is no ‘away’ when we throw away our trash, she started collecting office paper in Vancouver, long before blue boxes were part of our lexicon. The company has continued to be a leader in green industry practices and supports others who are developing innovative options.
Recycling Alternative is a locally owned company providing a broad spectrum of recycling, shredding and zero waste services. Most recently Recycling Alternative custom designed and manufactured a zero waste truck prototype. Currently, the company is introducing innovative, on-site composting technologies and developing custom, client programs to tackle the challenge of food waste for restaurants, supermarkets and the hospitality sector with this cost effective, clean on-site technology.
Click to download – GreenHUB Press Release June 4 2014 pdf