Slope Side Supply Sustainability Initiative

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As a local supplier of a wide range of products, some of which are potentially harmful to the environment, we feel it is imperative to help Whistler move towards the goal of sustainability. We are currently researching our existing product lines as well as new ones in an attempt to evaluate their impact on the environment. In stride with Whistler, it’s our Nature and The Natural Step, we are not only evaluating products based on performance and price but on a new set of criteria which we hope will result in increased sustainable purchasing practices.

What is sustainability and how will your business benefit?

Sustainability is fundamentally about maintaining life on earth and the ecosystems required to support it. Without moving towards a sustainable future, we may have no future at all. By adopting The Natural Step Framework as our “sustainability compass” we can begin to move towards a sustainable future.

Major corporations including IKEA, Nike, Whistler Blackcomb, Fairmont Chateau Whistler and Electrolux have adopted and reported the benefits of sustainable actions.

These include:

  • competitive advantage
  • enhanced public image
  • cost savings
  • employee satisfaction
  • innovative practices and products
  • investment in the future

What is the natural step?

The Natural Step is an international organization that teaches a science-based systems framework to help individuals and communities take steps toward a more ecologically, socially and financially sustainable future. The Natural Step Framework provides a common understanding and language for all organizations, disciplines and cultures to follow in moving towards sustainability.

The Natural Step conditions for sustainability

4 SYSTEM CONDITIONS AS 4 BUSINESS OBJECTIVES:

  • to eliminate our contribution to systematic increases in concentrations of substances from the earth’s crust (mined oil, coal and scarce metals);
  • to eliminate our contribution to systematic increases in concentrations of substances produced by society (littering the earth);
  • to eliminate our contribution to the systematic physical degradation of nature (over harvesting fish or trees); and
  • contribute as much as we can to meeting human needs in our society and world wide (over and above the measures taken in meeting the above 3 objectives, through fair and efficient resource use)..

WE LIVE IN AN AGE OF UNPRECEDENTED UNCERTAINTY...
Life on earth is perilously poised at the precipice of extinction. Never before has man possessed the destructive resources to commit global suicide.”

– Taken from David Suzuki’s, The Sacred Balance, 1998.

...In Whistler, we send 600 kilograms of solid waste to landfill every year, per person.

Low Hanging Fruit

Suggestions for your business

  • Do a waste audit to determine what your waste guideline to become more aware of our actions and their effect on nature consists of and where it ends up
  • Begin a comprehensive recycling program that involves both your staff and customers
  • Buy in bulk

  • Aim for products that are biodegradable and not hazardous to the environment
  • Reduce energy consumption (electricity, water) in your work environment

Where do we begin?

Sustainability is not an easy goal. It is a long-term journey that all of us have to work towards in Whistler. The Natural Step Framework gives us a Do a waste audit to determine what your waste guideline to become more aware of our actions and their effect on nature consists of and where it ends up and society. It suggests that we begin planning our goals towards sustainability as though we are harvesting a fruit tree. The fruit we naturally reach for are the low hanging ones that are easy to grab. We can begin moving towards sustainability at a basic level before we tackle the more difficult changes. For example, choosing 100% recycled toilet paper is an easy change whereas vowing to never drive a car again is not.

Product Life cycle

Products are traditionally evaluated on price and performance. However, in a sustainable environment we must evaluate a product based on its entire life cycle. We can evaluate the type of impact a product has by looking at the traditional “cradle to grave” model and compare it to the sustainable model, “cradle to cradle”. In the sustainable model it is crucial for us to recognize the natural and technical cycles of products and the ways in which we can “close the loops” to minimize impact.

sustainable

Slope Side's new criteria for sustainable purchasing:

PAPER PRODUCTS

CLEANING CHEMICALS AND DETERGENTS

GARBAGE BAGS

Manufacturing
How is the product made?
How much energy is used to produce it?
What is the product made of?

Use products that are 100% recycled with a high post consumer waste (PCW) content. Use chemicals that are manufactured without hazardous materials or by-products. Use garbage bags that are made with recycled materials and contain PCW content.

Packaging
Is the product packaged in recycled material?
Can it be recycled?
Can you minimize the amount of packaging you use?

Use products that are bulk packed with recyclable packaging.

Use bulk concentrates rather than ready-to-use containers. Avoid aerosols.

Use bags that are bulk packed with recyclable packaging.

Transportation
How far is the produce transported?
How much pollution is produced delivering the product to market?

Ue products that are easily shipped to Whistler in bulk.

Use chemicals that are concentrated to avoid shipping water.

Use bags that are manufactured close to Whistler.

Product Utilization
Does the product minimize/control waste? Is the product hazard free?

Use high quality products that minimize usage.

Avoid overusing chemicals by diluting them prop.

Use bags that are strong enough to resist breakage in order to minimize usage.

Waste Management
Can the product be recycled or broken down by nature? What long-term landfill effects will the product produce?

Recycle all paper products. (Paper, cardboard, etc.)

Use chemicals that are biodegradable & butyl, ammonia phosphate & chlorine free.

Use a few large bags instead of a lot of small ones.

Did you know?....

The fibrous nature of toilet paper in septic systems allows treated waste to form into bio-solids that can be used for fertilizer.

There is no definitive standard for biodegradability.
A product labeled as being “biodegradable” may not be biodegradable at all!

Clear garbage bags often used for recycling contain 100% virgin materials.

Slope Side’s Earth Friendly Products

100% recycled washroom products, copy paper and napkins.

Redi Pro Cleaning system with controlled dilution and no water transport.
Awesome Green all-purpose cleaner.

Ralston “Ecologo” awarded bags: 75% recycled, 25% PCW.
Biodegradable bags available.

For information on sustainability, Whistler It's our Nature & the Natural Step, please visit: www.whistleritsournature.ca for question about Slope Side Supply products and pricing, or to discuss sustainability issues, please call 604.938.1972