Waste reduction at London Drugs begins when the company considers which products will be available on their shelves. They carry “hundreds of products with environmental advantages” to allow the consumer to make a greener choice without having to go to a specialty store. They intentionally look for products with reduced packaging, local production, organic production, recyclable packing or contents, and a wide variety of other criteria. London Drugs as a corporation is dedicated to reducing their environmental impact. This is evident in the level of support stores receive to increase the number of products and materials which can be recycled.

The store manager Chris Mabie agreed to speak on the behalf of London Drugs to answer some questions about the store’s waste reduction methods. This Lethbridge location has been constantly monitoring the amount of waste and recycling which is removed from their store. In the past year they came very close to reaching their goal of 95% waste diversion and instead hit 94%. These kind of results boost staff engagement and encourage the continued use of their programs. Additionally this store has developed a partnership with the Lethbridge food bank through the expired foods program. It involves the donation of packaged good which are approaching their best before date, instead of simply throwing out these goods. These products are safe for consumption for another six months to two years past this date, it is simply an estimate of guaranteed quality by the manufacturer.

The key to this store’s success is the idea of making recycling easy and the disposal of waste difficult. Recycling containers are easily available throughout the entire store, from the recycling centre at the front doors to the separated bins in the back room. Garbage containers are small and placed near clearly labeled recycle bins to encourage customers and staff to make a green choice. There is a wide variety of items which can be recycled at London Drugs including small appliances, Styrofoam, batteries, printer cartridge, electronic goods, and more. Customers can bring these materials and items to the store for recycling at any time. Their website greendeal.ca contains a detailed list of items which can be consulted by consumers. During environment week, this store holds recycling events for the community inviting everyone to bring in old electronics and used items. They work together with second hand stores to reuse these items whenever possible or recycle unsalvageable materials.

London Drugs is showing other organizations that waste reduction is possible, when people view garbage from a different perspective and consider the best method of disposal.

Written and photographed by Kristen Hancsicak