Waste Reduction Week Finds Unexpected Hero in Shopping Mall

St. Vital Centre, Compost Winnipeg, & Councillor Mayes partner for sustainability

Winnipeg, Manitoba, October 17, 2016 – Waste Reduction Week kicks off today, marking the 15th year the issue has been highlighted in Canada. Local environmental organization Green Action Centre is featuring an unexpected hero – a shopping mall.

Winnipeggers might be surprised to learn that St. Vital Centre has a sustainable development mission statement outlining the need to balance “social responsibility, economic vitality, and environmental stewardship.” Operations Manager Don Lombaert has seen first-hand the financial savings that come with sustainable choices.

“We did a renovation in 2012/2013, and one of the goals was energy reduction. The entire mall has LED lighting both inside and out,” Lombaert explains. “Our gas consumption has gone down since I started, about 50 percent. Our GM was asking me a couple months ago, ‘How come hydro costs are down 14 percent?’”

Lombaert and Administrative Assistant Carleen McDowell are a dynamic team at the shopping centre, working behind the scenes to inspire tenants and other visitors with their vision of recertifying under the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) of Manitoba’s BESt 3.0 certification system. In 2013, St Vital Centre achieved BOMA BESt level 4, the highest rating offered for environmental sustainability.

St. Vital Centre’s connection to Waste Reduction Week came about due to an unusual twist. After Green Action Centre made several appeals to City Council to move forward with a municipal green bin (organic waste pickup) program, Councillor Brian Mayes took the initiative to support the purchase of a used truck for Green Action Centre’s social enterprise Compost Winnipeg.

“When I heard about Compost Winnipeg, I wanted to get behind it,” says Councillor Mayes, whose financial assistance allowed the social enterprise to purchase a used truck for their weekly organic waste pickups. It also allowed Compost Winnipeg to jump in and add St. Vital Centre to their rounds when the mall’s previous organic waste collector stopped operating.

“The truck Councillor Mayes contributed to has really been key for us taking this small operation to the next level by enabling us to triple the volume of organic waste we handle on a weekly basis,” says Project Manager Kelly Kuryk. “Since our official launch on Earth Day this year, Compost Winnipeg has diverted 24,500 kg of organic waste from the landfill, equivalent to taking over 1,000 cars off the road for one day.”

Other Green Action Centre offerings for the public during Waste Reduction Week include free backyard and vermicomposting presentations on October 18, 20, 23 and 26, plus a guided tour of the new 4R Winnipeg Depot at Brady Road Landfill on October 19. Register by calling 204-925-3779.

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