We spoke with Carla Shkwarok and Laura Hnatiuk about GHD's corporate commitment to sustainability, their plans to transition into being more Zero Waste and the importance of having an in-office waste separation program.
"We feel it's important to lead by example. A lot of our work focuses on waste reduction and diversion strategies for our clients, which brings a need for us to do it ourselves."
Learn more about their experience with waste separation - and more! - below.
Q: I see that your office rate of waste separation is currently 75%, with a bold target of 100%. Why is waste separation so important to GHD, and how do you plan on pushing this figure higher?
Laura (GHD): We feel that it’s important to lead by example. A lot of our work focuses on waste reduction and diversion strategies for our clients, which brings a need for us to do it ourselves. In addition, it's important that we support the waste reduction and diversion goals set out by Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver. Proper waste separation and minimized contamination is a good first step to waste reduction, and our aim is to swap out any remaining single-use items for reusables.
Carla (GHD): Once we’re all back in the office, ensuring we offer staff relevant educational resources, and scheduling frequent Lunch and Learn opportunities on proper separation, composting and reduction.
Q: Waste separation is important for diverting items away from landfill, and we’re delighted to partner with you on achieving this! What other plans does GHD have to transition more to being Zero Waste?
Laura: Our office kitchen is stocked with reusable items to prevent internal generation of waste, and we’re working on reducing our paper waste partly by modifying our printer settings. We also weigh up our purchasing decisions as a business, for example ordering catering from local suppliers that may cost more than larger chains, but we know they will offer more sustainable options and produce less waste.
Carla: As we see staff return to the office, we will plan to revisit ideas of collection boxes for used pens, used PPE like disposable masks, ear plugs, eye protection, in addition to promoting our current collection of used batteries and e-waste.
Q: Are there any things you’d do differently about implementing waste separation programs? What other best practices or recommendations can you share with other businesses looking to take on these challenges?
Laura: At GHD we believe it’s the right thing to do for businesses to support regional goals, so other businesses could view these challenges as a way to support our regional and municipal partners and look at it as a learning opportunity for how to be better.
Carla: Businesses could use incentives and fun games to promote zero waste and look at shifting from single use and prepackaged products to shared bulk food items as restrictions ease. Our staff currently in the office have been leading by example, and we could use our diversion numbers to set office targets as more staff return.
Q: Can you speak about any upcoming projects locally or nationally that showcase GHD’s commitment to sustainability?
Laura: We’re collaborating with the City of Surrey to develop a Zero Waste strategy, with a focus on waste reduction and transitioning to a circular economy. Strategies focus on both residential and commercial sectors, with the common goal to eliminate waste through reuse, repair and avoidance to ensure a clean, green future.
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