June 17, 2011 – Garden retail members of the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association have come out in force to support the second annual National Plastics Recycling Event, scheduled to take place from June 24 to July 5.
June 17, 2011 – Garden retail members of the Canadian Nursery Landscape
Association have come out in force to support the second annual National
Plastics Recycling Event, scheduled to take place from June 24 to July
5. Originally a Landscape Ontario program, run solely from the organization’s storage compound, the program spread across Canada in 2010 and offered six “depot” locations in total. There are forty this year.
“We needed to look for ways that we could increase capacity, reach more consumers, and benefit our members, while taking the pressure off our volunteers,” says Lorraine Pigeon-Ivanoff of Landscape Ontario, who spearheaded the event (and sorted plastics into the wee hours). The Ontario association took a cue from British Columbia, where space constraints forced the BCLNA to seek retail partners in order to participate in the initiative. The adjusted format caused the associations rely on garden centres to donate space and staffing resources, but it also allowed the industry organizations to work on behalf of members to drive prospective customers to participating stores. The added traffic to their garden centres, as spring sales tapered off, was an added bonus for retailers. The method was repeated coast to coast.
Phoenix Perennials & Specialty Plants is a mail order and retail nursery located in Richmond, British Columbia. Proprietor, Gary Lewis, joined the program last week and was happy to make the extra effort; “The nursery industry is the ‘original green industry’. We grow the plants and educate the public about how to add beauty to and improve the environments of our cities and towns. It's important that we continue this leadership by working to reduce the ecological footprint of our industry by encouraging the recycling of the plastic pots, flats and other materials we require to grow and sell our plants. The National Plastics Recycling Event is a visionary and important program that provides a means for nurseries across the country to offer a recycling service to our customers. Our customers are impressed that we are showing environmental responsibility. They are overjoyed to get rid of their plastic pots and without having to throw them out. They shop at the nursery when they bring their pots in, and we get to do the right thing as a business."
Finding partner organizations and funding quickly became a concern, as interest in the program began to build. Fortunately, CleanFARMS stepped in to offer support, affording the “you-print” marketing campaign to supply reusable banners and promotional posters to each garden centre ‘depot,’ and even absorbing the cost of trucking recyclables in an area where processors are distant.
CleanFARMS is a non-profit industry stewardship organization that manages agricultural waste from farms across Canada. Through CleanFARMS, the agriculture and horticulture industries can access an empty pesticide container recycling program, obsolete pesticide collection campaigns, and, in Atlantic Canada, an empty pesticide paper bags collection program. These programs highlight the commitment of farmers, manufacturers, retailers, distributors and municipalities to environmental responsibility.
“Our programs have one of the highest recovery rates compared to other stewardship programs in Canada, even though participation is voluntary, which shows us farmers have an appetite for these types of initiatives,” says Barry Friesen, general manager of CleanFARMS. “Partnerships are key to building successful stewardship programs and we are pleased to be working with the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and its member associations to deliver initiatives like the National Plastic Recycling Event.”
Other partners soon joined the ranks. Myers Lawn & Garden Group (MYE Canada) identified the program as an ideal segue into the company’s plastics take-back program, which has begun to establish plastics compactors at grower-client locations, and offers sales incentives based on the plastics returned. To help build awareness, MYE Canada is delivering receptacles to all Ontario-based participants in the program. They and Plastix Canada, also of Ontario, will arrange pick-ups of all the collected materials. West Coast Plastic Recycling in Richmond has done the same in Greater Vancouver. Retailers and association staff have been working hard to find options in lesser-served regions.
“The demand exists,” comments Renata Triveri, CNLA’s Retail Priorities Manager. “Member and non-member retailers and growers are phoning daily to try to find options for these products. Some nurseries have been stockpiling and storing discarded plastics over several seasons because they loathe the thought of throwing them out. The retailers I’ve spoken with are anxious to be part of the solution. It’s a matter of finding the right fit so that our industries can develop ongoing stewardship options.”
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