From Food Court to Garden Bed

Last updated Jul 20, 2024

Waste Reduction Group partners with Oxford Properties to create a custom, circular model for food waste.

Organic waste currently decomposing in Canadian landfills is a major contributor to our collective climate emergency. For all the mainstream climate focus on carbon dioxide, the methane released from the decomposition of organic waste in landfill has eighty-six times the warming power over a twenty-year period - once released into the atmosphere. And once decomposed, the rich nutrients left in organic waste are lost forever.

While Waste Reduction Group has become a leader in helping our customers divert food waste from landfill through various composting initiatives, we wanted to demonstrate the potential of a circular composting model for organic waste. Partnering with Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Scarborough Town Centre, along with The Convertus Group, we created a custom Circular Compost Pilot project to show the benefits and possibility of circularity.

How It Worked:

Waste Reduction Group collected organic food waste from both Oxford Properties shopping facilities, then hauled the material to The Convertus Group’s organic waste treatment facility in London, Ontario. Over the course of several weeks at this specialized composting facility, the organic food waste went through a unique In-Vessel composting process which slowly converted the food court leftovers into ready-to-use, nutrient-rich compost for the local community.

Waste Reduction Group then brought the fully matured compost material back to the two malls where it was mixed into soil and landscaping projects across both shopping facilities. With this demonstrative pilot program and partnership, together we successfully diverted over 60 tonnes of organic waste from landfill, while producing 12 tonnes of rich compost that was brought back to the local communities - giving these resources a new life.

This custom circular pilot project was designed to demonstrate the possibility of a closed loop system for organic food waste, while inspiring more closed loop solutions to come.

“We are always looking at innovative ways to help our partners recycle more and waste less" said Chris Hopper, VP of Growth & Finance at Waste Reduction Group. "Our partners at Oxford Properties, and specifically Yorkdale Mall and Scarborough Town Centre, are leaders in sustainable practices and they jumped at the opportunity to conduct this pilot project together. We’re thrilled to see this come full circle, and are excited about continuing to bring new and innovative initiatives to our partners that show the collective benefits of diverting waste from landfill."

Custom circular pilot projects like this are unique in that they require multiple stakeholders to align on a shared vision and passion to build out a program together, from scratch. “At Convertus, our mission is closing the loop on organic waste. Through our partnership with Waste Reduction Group, we are able to exhibit just how possible and effective this can be" said Hunter MacPhail, Business Development Manager at the Convertus Group.

News Coverage:

Waste Advantage Magazine

What's Next:

Waste Reduction Group continues to explore and identify innovative waste reduction programs to bring to our amazing group of sustainably-minded customers and partners. More to come...

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