The Environews
(Times Colonist, Victoria, BC, Canada)
18 Jan 2000


The Capital Regional District has chosen two winners of the Green Bonus Award. This distinction--designed to honor exemplary efforts to reduce business waste--is bestowed on local businesses three times a year through a public nomination process.

Odette Kalman, winner in the Exemplary Employee category, is the owner of Ecosource Paper and maintains the recycling programs there, helping to make it a small-business waste-reduction model. Ecosource paper sells tree-free papers to both retail and wholesale clients throughout North America. Together with her staff, Kalman ensures that virtually every potential scrap of garbage is scrutinized for its recyclability.

"We collect boxes of all sizes, around Victoria from stationary stores, binderies or printers, even from neighbouring business people," notes Kalman. The boxes are reused for shipping out Ecosource's products. Kalman says she is happy to "give the boxes a second chance for another useful purpose."

Besides the above, all kinds of other materials at Ecosource are either reused (such as scrap paper and packaging materials), or recycled (such as glass and metal beverage containers, mixed paper and cardboard)--and the joint staff efforts are paying off. "In these six years of being in operation, an estimated five tonnes [of waste] have been economically and environmentally soundly recycled."

Victoria Cab Office In the Exemplary Business category, Victoria Taxi stood out for its commendable waste-reduction programs. besides recycling all paper, cans and cardboard, Victoria Taxi also purchases recycled or recyclable office supplies whenever possible. When office furniture is replaced, the old materials are donated to charity.

Even all the umbrellas and winter coats that passengers leave in the cabs--after 1 days in the firm's lost and found--are not thrown away but, instead, donated to the homeless through Streetlink Emergency Shelter.

Diane Hill, Victoria Taxi's assistant general manager, is proud of the program, yet maintains it;'s "something we just do. We like to be environmentally friendly, and it does cut down on our garbage a lot." Not merely an office program, these waste-reduction activities have become second nature to the staff, and the environment benefits greatly.

Winners get a trophy made from locally recycled glass.

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