In recognition of Waste Reduction Week, Built Green Canada acknowledges the integral role waste management plays in environmental sustainability, as well as those builders who have long chosen responsible waste reduction methods.
While Waste Reduction and Recycling Weeks in Canada began in the mid-1980s, the national Waste Reduction Week program was spearheaded in 2001 by the Recycling Council of Ontario, who leads the national campaign to celebrate environmental efforts and achievements, while encouraging further innovation and solutions.
In parallel, Built Green Canada was formed shortly thereafter—a national, non-profit organization that offers third-party certified sustainable building programs to residential builders. These programs take a holistic approach that includes energy efficiency and goes on to address six other critical aspects of sustainable building—like materials and methods, water conservation, and waste management.
In the residential building industry, waste management primarily refers to the handling of materials on the construction site: the Built Green programs encourage builders to reduce waste, reuse scrap materials, and recycle or donate what’s left over.
“While energy performance is a dominant focus across the country to mitigate climate change, Built Green builders and supporting industry have championed a holistic approach to sustainability—as part of this, integrating waste reduction practices,” says Built Green Canada’s CEO Jenifer Christenson. “Campaigns like Waste Reduction Week, alongside ongoing industry leadership, are key to promoting awareness, and in turn, progressing uptake of these practices.”
Meanwhile, increasingly municipalities are asking that builders and developers sort their waste—and while initially this can be met with resistance, it is an environmental approach that can be straightforward.
Whether through municipality pressure or guided through programs like Built Green or driven by their own sustainability goals, builders can encourage their trades to recycle their onsite waste. Moreover, utilizing waste management services further help builders reduce the load, in terms of administration and supervision
Waste management companies come onsite to recycle and redistribute materials, whether that be for recycling or donation, maximizing landfill diversion—and as a result, may reduce landfill fees for the builder. Built Green members Sea to Sky Removal serves the Lower Mainland and the Sea to Sky Corridor, while 1st Choice® Construction Site Services Inc. services greater Edmonton.
Waste Reduction Week runs alongside the Canadian Home Builders’ Association’s Renovation Month, intended to help educate consumers on what goes into a renovation and how to find a professional renovator. Fitting, as waste reduction is an important component of responsible renovations. Built Green’s renovation programs, both single family and high density, guide industry through an environmentally friendly approach. As part of this, credit is offered for reuse of building materials, including building walls, floors and roof structure—practices that result in high percentages of landfill diversion, and offer another way to save through reduced landfill fees and fewer new materials.
Built Green Canada is a national, industry-driven, non-profit organization offering third-party certification programs for those interested in sustainable practices in the residential building sector: programs for Single Family, Single Family Renovations, High Density (including multi-storey, residential tower, and mixed-use), and High Density Renovation projects. Since its inception, builders have completed over 32,750 BUILT GREEN® certified homes in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario; including units in multi-storey projects, this total is over 36,090 (as at March 31, 2019).