The good thing is that most of the steps we have taken or are looking at implementing in the near future, make good business sense. Cutting back or finding more efficient ways to do business is also good for the health of any business. Our energy saving and waste reduction efforts are also making us more competitive.
We challenge small business like us to make positive changes in any way possible. If you decide to implement any new strategies or have some creative ideas we haven't thought of please comment below so we can all benefit. We are all in this together!
We will go through some of the steps we undertake to be a little more earth friendly:
1. This might seem very basic but we sort all of our construction and office items into recyclable and waste. About 75% of what we sort is recyclable. Plastics, lots of cardboard as this is what all our downpipes and elbows are shipped in, and paper from our office. We ensure that everything is sorted properly on a daily basis. Then we ensure that when we go to the City of Toronto Waste Drop Off Facilities, all bags go into the right recycling bins. Since most everyone at North Shore is used to recycling at home it comes naturally to sort into the proper bins we have located in our office and shop.
All our eavestrough supplies are over 90 per cent recycled. Aluminum is easily recycled and all eavestroughs on the market today have recycled content in them.
We have a hazardous waste bin located in our shop so things like old paint and caulking and batteries do not end up in a landfill.
2. We buy either recycled or an alternative to paper that was created by cutting down forests. This one is super easy and doesn't really cost much more but you feel better every time you have to print something off.
3. In Toronto the amount of water that goes into the storm sewers when it rains heavy is a serious problem and results in raw sewage and waste flow directly into our waterfront. One of our objectives when designing a rain water management system is to get the downpipes disconnected from the city. We design systems that work, keep water away from your home, and safely absorb as much as possible on your grass or beds. We go the extra mile to make disconnects happen when other companies say it's not possible. We can get as creative as the homeowner likes to make this happen. We mostly make this happen with larger downspouts, proper grading, and sometimes 2 pipes in one location as shown below. We feel we can make a big impact on the storm water problem in Toronto, and this opportunity is open to all eavestrough companies in any city that has these common problems.
4. Water conservation through the installation of rain barrels. When configured professionally they operate trouble free for many years and will aid in the watering around your home. We hope more of our future clients will be interested in using them. They are great way to make a difference and maybe you might actually look forward to the rain when you know you will be restocking your barrels. Its not that common to see rain barrels but we hope that will change as we move forward. Why can't having barrels be cool?
6. All our shop lighting and outdoor lighting has been changed over to LED.
7. Coffee is organic and bird friendly. Who knew the way conventional coffee is grown is destroying bird habitat.
Our Kuerig is only used with reusable cups to reduce waste.
8. Our AC has only ran a couple of weeks this summer as we like to let a breeze blow through the office when conditions allow.
9. We are Bullfrog Powered. Bullfrog charges a slight up charge on our electric bill to pay for introducing green power sources onto the grid. We are powered by green gas and green electricity. Check them out on how to be a part of the green shift!
10. Do you know that washing your car can send polluted water straight into lake Ontario. Water going into sewer grates flow untreated to the Lake.
Good idea to use a car wash, or waterless car wash products available at Canadian Tire. They work great!
11. Our Smart car is great for jigging around and doing estimates. Running trouble free since 2008.
12. Our service area has been reduced slightly to reduce travelling. Years ago we used to travel pretty much from our shop to areas like Oakville and Aurora and Brampton. A lot of fuel used for estimating and plus sending a crew out. We hope people can think local if possible to reduce traffic congestion and reduce fuel consumption. Now we focus on Scarborough, North York and other areas in and near Toronto.
13. We donate $10.00 to the David Suzuki Foundation for every Homestars review we get. Check out David Suzuki at http://www.davidsuzuki.org/ Our goal is to get 100 reviews this year which will total $1000.00 for environmental causes.
14. We used to by water in plastic bottles by the truck load and now we buy all our water in glass and is set up in our office and in all our eavestrough trailers. Team members are encouraged to bring a reusable bottle and refill from the glass bottles. Check out Cedar Springs to get the glass bottles: http://cedarspringswater.ca/
15. We now use job signs infrequently as most of these get thrown in the garbage by the homeowner. We use them sparingly and ask that the homeowner contact us so we can pick them up instead of throwing in the trash. 10 years ago it was commonplace for companies to canvass neighborhoods with these type signs. Thank goodness we see less of that today.
16. All our power bars in the office are equipped with timers that turn the power bar off after 6 pm and turn back on at 6 am from Monday to Friday and off for the weekends. Computers and printers are powered off completely this way. This reduces our power consumption.
17. We are converting our jobsite trailers to solar power. No more plugging in to power our eavestrough machines or power tools. It work amazing. Three 100 watt panels are all thats needed to charge to deeep cycle batteries which powers an inverter.
18. We use biodegradable 2 cycle oil for our leaf blowers used to clean up your property.
If anyone has any other ideas for greening a small business we would love to hear about it! If we all make small changes they will add up towards a big impact. Lets work to make our future a positive healthy one!
Visit our website at www.eavestrough.ca or email us at email@example.com as we would love to hear from you.