Amy Hillyard, waste reduction coordinator with Waste Check, and Gus Green, Waste Check’s general manager, with the organization’s Mobius awards, including its latest for region of the year for 2013.
ERIC BOURQUE PHOTO
By Eric Bourque
Waste Check has been recognized again for its waste diversion efforts and accomplishments – the organization having received the award for Nova Scotia’s region of the year for the second straight year – but Waste Check’s general manager, Gus Green, says they know they must continue to work hard.
“There’ll be no sitting on our laurels, so to speak,” he said. “We’re building up momentum. We’re getting people to think about their solid waste, to try to take ownership of it, and we want to keep that momentum going.”
The Mobius awards for 2013 were presented Oct. 16 in Halifax. This is the fourth time Waste Check has received the award for region of the year. The organization, which covers Region 7 (Yarmouth and Digby counties), was recognized for, among other things, being the first of the province’s waste management regions to hit the target of reducing the amount of landfill-bound garbage to an average of 300 kilograms per person per year.
Waste Check hit the 300-kg target – actually dipping under it – two years ahead of the provincially mandated schedule for achieving the mark.
The Mobius award presenters also cited various Waste Check initiatives, including its business-of-the-month and Club 300 programs, its Leaders by Example video series and its My Waste smartphone app.
That Waste Check has been named region of the year again, Green said, is “a testament to all the hard work that the staff does and also to the support we get from our board and from our residents as well.”
Green also points to Waste Check’s strategic planning process, which the organization is working on now.
“We’re getting ready to go back to the board with another draft plan for the next three years,” he said. “It’s really been sort of the template that’s helped us achieve the results that we have because it sets out clear goals and targets we want to reach.”
As part of its budgeting process, he says, Waste Check is required to develop a work plan that identifies what the organization will focus on in the year ahead and how it intends to do what it sets out to do. In this way, the strategic plan – rather than shelved and forgotten – remains a “working, vibrant document.”
The plan is drawn up through consultation with representatives of different sectors.
Green says the business-of-the-month and Club 300 programs are going well. The former, as the name suggests, recognizes members of the business community for their waste management and waste diversion efforts. The latter is a similar program of recognition for others in the community.
“Club 300 was really just a way to try and reach out and recognize those people that are going above and beyond the call and there’s quite a few of them out there and we find more all the time,” Green said.
The My Waste app has been well received, he says, although they only really started promoting it recently. The app, the Mobius award presenters said, is an example of how “Region 7 has really raised the bar.”
As he looks ahead and talks about some of the things Waste Check will do to try to ensure that the region stays on a positive course with regard to waste reduction, Green cites what he calls “public waste.” Most people tend to do a good job separating their waste at home, he says, but many somehow fail to do so when they go for a meal at a food court, for example.
He says he expects this will be “one of our biggest focuses for the next few years, trying to get that message out to people to take ownership of the waste even when they’re out in public. If you just went to a quick-service restaurant and you bought your lunch, well, that’s your waste now and you need to manage it just like you would at home.”
He realizes, he says, that this sort of thing means “changing behaviours that we’ve all built up over the course of our lifetime.”
But Waste Check, he says, will continue to deliver the message and to help in any way it can.
“People have busy lives and there are probably things a lot more important to them than their fast-food wrapper, but it’s still what we do, so we’re going to try and keep getting the word out there,” he said.