Recycling Alternative Newsletter: 2017 In Review

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From the desk of the Owners Louise & Robert

R&L-TruckwebAs 2017 rounds to a close, we wanted to send our heartfelt thanks out to RA’s wonderful community of clients, as well as our amazing team who work so hard to keep our engine primed and running efficiently, whether as office and admin staff, managers, dispatchers, drivers, warehouse team …. (and of course, the cats!).

On the community front, we continue to work on innovative recycling programs with our Downtown Eastside community partners United We Can, Mission Possible and the Binners Project, to provide employment opportunities to individuals with barriers.

Robert is still like a kid in a sandbox. From his custom designed and manufactured ZW trucks (2010-2015) he has now turned his attention to helping our high volume food waste clients process their organics waste on-site in 24 hours, using our composting machines.

By now, many of you will be aware that the international recycling markets have had a very rough year. Recently, the ‘China Sword’ introduced bans against all recycling materials exported to China from North America, in response to the high levels of contamination and garbage being found in these exported streams. This has dramatically affected paper and plastics markets through the last months of 2017, the next few months will give us an indication about the long-term effects.

With these challenges looming large on the horizon, we can expect to see and hear a lot more about the importance of clean and recoverable recycling streams in 2018.  The City of Vancouver will be continuing its extensive public consultation on Single Use Items such as coffee cups and shopping bags, which will beat the centre of municipal waste policy discussions through 2018, as municipalities grapple with the cost and logistics of collecting and disposing of these single use, low grade materials, considered undesirable in the recycling markets.

We look forward to meeting these challenges head on, working with our clients to make sure we are all prepared for the changing landscape of recycling.  Thank you for your support in choosing to work with a local business such as Recycling Alternative.  It is no small task to have achieved 25 years operating and thriving in the extremely competitive waste and recycling industry, Recycling Alternative has continued to grow, adapt and innovation thanks to you, our clients!


Holiday Hours:

Office Hours:
December 22nd
– Open 9am – 12pm
December 25-26 – CLOSED
December 29th – Open 9am – 12pm
January 1st – CLOSED

Hauling Hours:
We run reduced hauling hours between December 22nd and January 2nd. Please contact our office if you require a pick-up during these days, or if you will need extra materials collected before or after the holidays.

Drop-off Shredding – must be booked in advance. No appointments are available between December 22nd and January 1st.

Drop-off Shredding Hours:
December 1st-21st
 – open for regular drop-offs 10:30am to 2:30pm, Monday to Friday
December 22nd-26th – CLOSED
December 27th-28th – open for regular drop-offs 10:30am to 2:30pm
December 29th-January 1st – CLOSED


Customer Profile: Luppolo Brewing

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Lupollo (meaning hops in Italian) opened in the fall of 2016, and not only have they been serving up local beers, but Lupollo has been making some major inroads in their waste reduction efforts. We spoke with Ryan Parfitt, one of 4 friends and owners of Lupollo Brewing, about their recycling efforts and reaching an impressive 95% diversion rate.

Ryan says that he has been interested in recycling since long before starting the brewery. At home, he tried to purchase products with minimal packaging, and would collect hard to recycle materials to drop off at the Pacific Mobile Depot pop-up depot at Britannia. He was amazed at the amount of waste we produce, in particular the single use items.

With this mindset, when Ryan met Louise Schwarz (Recycling Alternative owner and co-founder) at a Strathcona BIA Christmas party in 2015, he found the two companies shared many goals and values. Ryan and Lupollo also put a big emphasis on working with local businesses whenever possible to keep money in the local economy and create local jobs.

Ryan has taken this ethos and dedication to the business. Lupollo tried to source items and supplies that reduce packaging, however they found that in some areas it is almost impossible. Their grain supplier, for example, uses lot of soft plastics. With other suppliers, they have been more successful.

They have also focused on reducing single use items where possible, and where they can’t, they look for the most sustainable solution available, such as compostable cups over Styrofoam.

Solid waste isn’t in the only area of reduction. As a brewery, water consumption is going to be a large part of what they do, but Ryan is working on ways to reduce water waste by reusing water for cooling instead of pouring clean water down the drain. It is obvious that Lupollo puts a large importance on waste reduction of all kinds.

Ryan doesn’t see it as a burden though. He says it took very little effort to get the recycling system into place, and at this point it is no more effort for them to recycle than it would be to use the garbage.

Lupollo Brewing Company is located at 1123 Venables in Vancouver. My personal favourite beer is usually the Wild Sour, but in the Winter months the Imperial Stout is hard to beat.


Events and Festivals

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In 2017 we teamed up with Vancity, Green Chair Recycling, and the Binners’ Project to bring a number of Zero Waste Events to the community. We were also proud to work with Bard on the Beach, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Sakura Days, Union Gospel Mission, and various other organizations again this year on their diversion efforts.

Recycling Alternative prides itself on being an active member of the local community. Each year we help support recycling efforts at a variety of events and festivals in order to divert significant amounts of recyclable material that would otherwise end up in landfill. Events bring the community together and offer an opportunity to engage with the public about the importance of recycling. Recycling is our passion, so any chance we have to talk trash and give back to the community is another successful day.

We had an amazing event season, thank you to everyone who was involved in another successful year.

Look at what we can do when we work together!

  • RA helped with diversion efforts at over 50 events in 2017
  • 12 of these events were “Zero Waste Events” including Vaisakhi, Uninterrupted, National Aboriginal Day, Car Free Days, Italian Day on the Drive, and Golden Spike Days.
  • Vaisakhi’s Vancouver parade is one of the largest Zero Waste Events with approximately 100,000 people attending in 2017. This event had a 90% diversion rate – 2225 kgs of recycling were diverted from landfill which included organics (990 kgs), mixed containers (301 kgs), refundable containers (658 kgs), mixed paper/cardboard (251 kgs), used cooking oil (25 kgs).
  • Recycling Alternative works with Union Gospel Mission every year at 5 events. At their Thanksgiving Event alone, they served close to 3000 meals and we helped them divert 899lbs of organics and 127lbs of other recyclable materials.

Protect your information with Recycling Alternative Secure Shredding!

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In 2017, we helped protect hundreds of clients by shredding and recycling more than 200,000 KGs of paper. Our confidential document destruction services are easy and convenient – either as a regularly scheduled service, or as a one-time pickup to clear out old documents. Whether it’s one file box, or a whole truck load, we can make sure it is securely destroyed.

As we head into our busiest season, when everyone is managing year-end clean-ups, it is recommended that you book all your shredding and document destruction needs as early as possible! Some important dates to note for Recycling Alternative’s shredding services:

Dec 15th is the last day we will be able to pick-up on-call shredding requests for our holiday season (until January 7th)

January is our busiest month of the year for confidential shredding – book your pick-ups and clear-outs early!

Drop and Watch services will continue to run during the season at our site, but with reduced hours! Book early to avoid popular dates being filled.

Call us to book a confidential “Drop and Watch” shredding appointment at Recycling Alternative today. We offer confidential and hassle-free shredding at our central Vancouver location where you can watch your documents get destroyed for maximum peace of mind. Shredding gets mixed in with other paper bound for recycling, and is further baled and compressed to ensure your information remains out of reach and safely destroyed.


RA Profile: Allan Gatbonton, Lead Driver

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How long have you been an RA teammate for?

I’ve been working at Recycling Alternative for more than two years. Two years and seven months to be exact!

What is your favourite part of working at RA?

Some of my favourite parts of working at Recycling Alternative involve meeting different people all around the Lower Mainland on the job and learning about all the different cultures, heritages, and people that make up our super diverse city! Being able to pick-up recycling and make a difference is a plus too!

What is something you’ve learned from working at RA that makes a difference in your life?

Something that I learned from working at Recycling Alternative is how to save our Earth for future generations and how to help teach other people and businesses about saving our Earth as well! It’s made a difference in my life because before I joined this team, I had little concern over what’s happening to our Earth. But now, I’m all about protecting and conserving the Earth we live in so my kids and our future generations can live in a clean and green home!

Why is recycling important to you?

Recycling is important to me because I want to be a good example to my kids and my fellow countrymen back in the Philippines. Unfortunately, recycling is not seen as very important back in the Philippines, which results in a lot of messiness, waste, and deterioration. Even the water becomes dirty and unsafe in some places! I’m hoping even my influence on my family and friends will start to help people understand the importance of recycling!

Who would you say is your favourite client that you’ve serviced? Why?

All of our clients are my favourite, because by choosing to recycle and be conscious of where their waste is going, they are helping to Earth and steering our future generations in the right direction. Our customers are not disposing their waste incorrectly and also giving me and Recycling Alternative the opportunity to have an awesome job that I love right here in Vancouver!