Green business practices help keep useful items out of landfills

Green business practices help keep useful items out of landfills

When many daily, one-time use items are thrown away, it is a shame to see it all go to the landfill. It would be more useful to keep the item and reuse it later instead of buying something new, right? Green business practices such as “repurposing” and “re-using” have a far reach in creating a large, meaningful impact for the local community and the environment. These actions go far beyond simply reducing the burden on landfills, but extend to reducing unnecessary consumption (and manufacture) of goods – both actions reduce greenhouse gases and reduce waste. Here to tell these stories are Glenburn Soda Fountain and Van Pet Food, Supplies and Grooming.

Glenburn Soda Fountain

Not only do Ron and Roberta sell locally made sodas at Glenburn Soda Fountain, they use local ingredients in their handmade soda fountain treats, too. Canoe Craft Soda is made right in Burnaby and Callister Soda comes from Vancouver, both produced in small batches. These sodas provide new local options for refreshments, which come in glass bottles instead of plastic.

Roberta is also passionate about composting and recycling responsibly. Composting is a green business practice that Roberta has followed before it became common. She used to set up a tent at local Farmers Markets and offer visitors to drop off their compost in exchange for a donation. Finally, Roberta ensures every empty ice cream tub gets reused for a variety of purposes instead of going to waste. Recently, the tubs have been used by local potters for their clay, Brownie groups for their supplies, gardeners for planting, and little league baseball teams for ball collection at third base (doubling as a stool to take a rest afterwards). She even offers the ice cream tubs to customers who have their own purpose for them!


Altogether, Glenburn Soda Fountain is making an eco-friendly impact by

  • Using at least 75% locally based vendors and suppliers.
  • Collecting recycling from customers to dispose of responsibly, since bio plastics aren’t collected in Burnaby.
  • Using paper straws for soda fountain treats.
  • Offering compostable take-out containers and utensils.
  • Using mostly organic or local food ingredients.
  • Collecting organics from customers and in the kitchen.

Van Pet Food, Supplies and Grooming

When Tamara is finished with packaging at Van Pet Food, Supplies and Grooming, she asks herself, “How can I use it instead of throwing it away?” This goes for ice packs, freezer containers, cardboard boxes, and cardboard flats that products arrive in. For example, cardboard boxes are used to hold products on the shelf, ice packs are given to customers to use, and cardboard flats are used as alternatives to shopping bags. Every choice Tamara makes with her packaging leads to purposeful decisions that divert waste from landfills and eliminate the need to purchase display containers.

Additionally, a majority of canned pet food brands at Van Pet are Canadian and include natural ingredients that leave a smaller environmental footprint. Plus, there is biodegradable cat litter made from food by-product without any harmful chemicals (to protect your furry friends and the planet). While not necessarily an eco activity, Van Pet is also committed to promoting pet adoption from rescue shelters. Van Pet continues to help spread awareness for the Burnaby Action for Animals in Distress Society to encourage more local adoptions, such as their own in-store mascot, KC the Cat.


To inspire change with its daily practices, Van Pet Food, Supplies and Grooming is

  • Selling reusable shopping bags and encouraging customers to bring their own.
  • Using natural daylight from skylights instead of electric lighting.
  • Discouraging paper receipts (thermal paper is plasticized and not recyclable).
  • Using at least 75% locally based vendors and suppliers.
  • Driving an electric vehicle to work.
  • Reusing as much packaging (containers, envelopes, paper-printed on-side, etc.) as possible.

By having purposeful uses for packaging, businesses are able to save money, divert waste from the landfill, provide opportunities to support the community, and inspire others to do the same. Stay tuned for more impactful businesses that are awaiting the Green Business Spotlight. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for more green features and tidbits!

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