Reducing waste with reused space

Ryan Percy
By Ryan Percy March 2, 2018 13:14

Barb Bonnici sorts garbage at the Devonshire Mall’s training waste sorting station. (Photo by Ryan Percy)

By Ryan Percy

Shoppers in Devonshire Mall’s food court in Windsor will no longer find bins being used to collect garbage.

The mall managers began the new waste reduction process Feb. 12 when they unveiled a new “training waste sorting station” located next to Taco Bell.

Shoppers who eat a meal in the food court will now follow a path of green footprints to bring their green trays to the sorting station. They will then place the trays at the accepting window and from there it will be sorted and disposed of by one of the staff.

The waste brought to the station is sorted into organic waste, paper and plastic. According to their website this initiative by management of Devonshire Mall continues their trend of green initiatives, including their energy efficient lighting and heating as well as solar charging stations.

Operations Manager for Devonshire Mall, Brad Shepley, said the goal of the waste sorting station, along with other initiatives, is to emphasize Devonshire Mall strives to be as environmentally conscious as possible.

“There has been an emphasis on waste reduction,” said Shepley. “Our goal is to get to a zero waste food court.”

Some Windsorites might have concerns about the efficiency of the recyclable program. However, Cameron Wright, waste diversion manager for the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority, said it is a step in the right direction.

“This program will only have a marginal impact on waste going to landfill. However, it may offer other spin-offs such as increased interest in recycling from other commercial establishments and increased awareness by the public of recycling opportunities away from home,” Wright said.

The general opinion on the change has been neutral to positive. Paula Moriarty is La Vie en Rose’s regional sales manager. While eating lunch she said it is good to see food waste management coming to Windsor.

“There are many other malls that I travel to and they do it already. They have glass plates or ceramic plates, they don’t offer any paper or anything like that and they actually have a lot less waste. So, the fact that they’re doing this I think it’s neat,” said Moriarty.

Recycling Makes Cents is the private company that deals with both the county recyclable metal collection, called white goods, and Devonshire Mall. They pay $0.01 per pound of paper or cardboard, $0.10 per pound of electronics and batteries, while pop cans earn $0.40 per pound.

In the current system the EWSWA receives compensation for recycling from the manufacturers of the item packaging. However, new legislation is pushing to have the packaging manufacturers take on full responsibility for the recycling. Wright said this leads to only one logical conclusion.

“In the long run under the new legislation EWSWA will have to decide whether what the manufacturers offer is sufficient for us to continue running recycling programs or whether we turn a part or all of our programs over to the private sector,” said Wright.

Privatization movements are already saving Canadian cities money, such as Rob Ford giving half of Toronto’s waste disposal to the private sector, saving Toronto almost $12 million.

Devonshire Mall will have two fully developed sorting stations ready to be installed when the new food court opens later this year. With these two new stations they will hire three employees.

Ryan Percy
By Ryan Percy March 2, 2018 13:14

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