March 29th, 2016

From your junk drawer to Zero Waste, our Green Deal sustainability story has it all!

London Drugs Green Deal Sustainability Overview Earth Month 2016

Once upon a time…

There was a lonely flip phone. One of millions of discarded recyclables looking for a better place to call home. Fortunately, London Drugs was launching a program to make recycling as easy as a trip to the store.  The year was 2008 Here’s our story.

The London Drugs philosophy is to support the communities we serve. Years before 2008, our stores had offered recycling, our photo labs treated their water and our operations reduced their impacts. But it was time to take our sustainability journey further.
What’sthe Green Deal? began as a question, because we always want to seek better sustainability answers.

Our 4 Pillar Strategy:

1. WASTE REDUCTION – Over 93% Of all store waste is diverted from landfill by our employees.

2. ENERGY & OPERATIONS – Better warehouse design & lighting, biodiesel in our trucks and more.

3. UPSTREAM BUYING – Our  Responsible Purchasing Policy helps show vendors exactly what we expect when it comes to their supply chain standards.

4. EDUCATION & COMMUNICATION – Our outreach events, sponsorships, Twitter feed @WTGreenDeal and our greendeal.ca website & blog help share greener living tips with the whole community.

What can customers recycle at London Drugs?

  • Electronics
  • Small Appliances
  • Packaging from our products including Styrofoam
  • Plastic Bags
  • Insurance Plastic Folders
  • Alkaline Batteries
  • Cell Phones
  • Rechargeable Batteries
  • Compact Fluorescent Bulbs & Fluorescent Light Tubes (up to 48”)
  • Disposable Cameras
  • Ink jet Cartridges
  • Laser Cartridges
  • Metal Film Canisters

WHERE does our recycling go?

  • Global Electric Electronic 
Processing (GEEP)
  • e-Cycle
  • FOAM ONLY
  • Cascades Recovery
  • Call2Recycle
  • Light Recycle
  • Various Recycling Partners

Responsible Recycling

Our recycling partners are certified and reviewed to ensure no unprocessed material is sent to substandard offshore facilities
London Drugs will take back all of your packaging from our products. 
Including the Styrofoam!

Don’t dump drugs!
 Our pharmacists take back all unused or expired medications, so they don’t pollute lands and waters.

Thanks to our customers and employees, our average yearly recycling totals over 11 MILLION lbs !

For those who like to shop a little greener… We identify Green Deal products with environmental benefits at the shelf and online.

The Zero Waste QUESTION – Can we create NEW products from  the ‘waste’  material streams that come from our recycling?

We already have one closed-loop product on our shelves. Cascades recycled paper products are made from cardboard and paper partially sourced from our waste recycling streams. And we’re still looking for even more ways to get to Zero Waste.

LEARN MORE Visit our website for blogs, videos articles, and products that help you live a little greener.  greendeal.ca

The story continues…

September 20th, 2015

What is ORGANIC anyway?

To celebrate Canada Organic Week (Sept 19 – 26) we have put together a list of  organic questions and answers, in a fun infographic. Scroll down for all the live links and a text version of all the info if that’s your thing.

Organic Questions and Answers Infographic for Canada Organic Week

Links:

Canada Organic Week

Wikipedia Organic Certification

Canada Organic

Organic Production Systems Standards

Environmental Medicine Organic Vs Conventional Foods Study

Little evidence of health benefits from organic foods study

(Text Version)

These days people buy, eat and wear more organic than ever before. But with all the certifications, labels and details, even the greenest shopper may not know exactly what it all means. So the London Drugs Green Deal Team delved into the world of organic certification to answer a few basic questions.

What makes a product ‘Certified Organic’?


Requirements vary from country to country, and generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping. Synthetic pesticides and genetically modified seeds are not permitted, On-farm and facility inspections are conducted to verify that organic producers are operating within standards. 

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency oversees the Canada Organic label. In the US, it’s the Department of Agriculture (USDA Organic)

Canadian Organic Standards also include principles like protecting the environment, minimizing soil degradation and decreasing pollution. 

Other countries with organic certifications include Australia, the European Union, France, Germany and Japan

What about ‘Organic Ingredients’?

Multi-ingredient products with 70-95 per cent organic content may have the declaration “contains x% organic ingredients,” but may not use the Canada Organic logo and/or the claim “organic”. Multi-ingredient products with less than 70 per cent organic content may only use organic claims in the product’s ingredient list. These products may not use the Canada 
Organic logo.

Only products with 95% organic content or more may be labelled as “organic” or bear the Canada Organic logo.

What’s the difference between Organic and Natural?

Natural means that:

• The food or ingredient must not contain an added vitamin, mineral nutrient, food additive or artificial flavouring agent.

• Must not have had any constituent removed or significantly changed (except removal of water).

• Must not have been submitted to processes that have significantly altered its original physical, chemical or biological state. (Source: CFIA)

Why is organic more expensive?


It isn’t always. But organic farming is more labor and management intensive. Organic-certified operations must have a plan and keep records that verify their compliance. Organic farms are also usually smaller than conventional farms and may not benefit from the economies of scale that larger growers get.

Canada’s Organic Standards cover everything from seeds to weeds to transportation.

Is Organic food better for you?


The jury is still out. Some studies show that organics provide greater levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than non-organic varieties, while being significantly lower in nitrates and pesticide residues. Other studies have found there isn’t much nutritional difference between organic and conventional foods.

When you consider the effects of conventional pesticides in soils and waterways, more organic production is probably a good thing for everyone’s health.

The BOTTOM LINE:

Going organic is a personal choice, but it’s not a decision you should have to make on cost alone. That’s why London Drugs is committed to offering you some of the best organic options out there, at great prices. 
That’s the REAL Green Deal! Happy Organic Week!

August 8th, 2014

What is B Corporation Certification?

B Corp Certification

If you scan the shelves for Certified Organic, Fair Trade, Kosher, Cruelty-Free or other certifications, you’ll soon start seeing a new label on the block.
Certified B Corporation is an up-and-coming standard that goes beyond the qualities of the product you hold in your hand and sets a standard for the behaviour of the company itself.
B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
To qualify, companies must complete the rigorous B Impact Assessment and earn a reviewed minimum score of 80 out of 200 points. This assessment measures everything from environmental practices and waste to labour standards and community practices. This assessment is reviewed, documentation may be required, and re-certification is required every 2 years.
There are now over 1000 B Corps in 30+ countries around the world, and the movement is growing.
Some of the great Green Deal products made by B Corps that you’ll find on London Drugs’ shelves include Method, Badger, Seventh Generation, Lunapads, Salt Spring Coffee, Ethical Bean Coffee, Manitoba Harvest, Preserve and Traditional Medicinals.
B Corporation Certification has been called “The highest standard for socially responsible business”, but their ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ says it best:
“We envision an new sector of the economy which harnesses the power of private enterprise to create public benefit…” You can read the rest on the B Corp website.
So if you want to buy from a company that’s working to make a difference, look for the B.  It’s one corporate certification that gets an ‘A’ from the Green Deal team.

b-corp-products

July 16th, 2014

All Star Summer Camp kids get the Green Deal message at Kerrisdale London Drugs.

kerrisdale-all-stars2When Vancouver’s All Star ‘Achieve’ summer camp asked Kerrisdale London Drugs manager Meena Nahal if they could bring their troops by for some sustainable inspiration, of course the answer was ‘yes!’.

LD’s Green Deal representative, Lorne Craig, also happened to be available, so the team quickly brought together some information and materials to help tell the kids about the extraordinary efforts employees and customers have been making to recycle everything from computers to plastic bags.

“The kids were very attentive,” says Lorne, “They already knew a fair amount about recycling, but we were able to give them some new information as well – especially around the proper disposal of old and expired medications.”

GreenDeal-recycle-bag1-smThe kids left with a recycling bag they can use at home to gather up those harder-to-recycle items – like batteries, CFL bulbs, small appliances and cell phones – and save them up until their next trip to the London drugs in-store recycling centre.

The kids made notes and asked some very pertinent questions, at one point even stumping the hosts.

“One young Einstein asked me what percentage of items we sell in the store are recyclable,” Lorne admits, “I didn’t have a ready answer. Looks like I’ll have to go to summer school myself on that one.”

If you want to know more about sustainability or ask about Green Deal information for your group, talk to your local London Drugs manager, or ask us on Twitter @WTGreenDeal.

April 4th, 2014

4 Things you may not know about Earth Day

Photo: istock - Millefloreimages

Photo: istock – Millefloreimages

Every April 22, a bunch of folks get out their blue bins, litter picker-uppers and compost buckets to celebrate Earth Day. But how much do you really know about this humble planet-helping tradition? Test your eco-trivia knowledge and find out:

Earth Day has been around since 1970 
In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace. A month later, United States Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed a national environmental ‘teach-in’, realizing if he could raise the emerging public awareness of air and water pollution, it could force environmental protection onto the political agenda. On the 22nd of April, 1970, millions of Americans demonstrated for a healthy environment in coast-to-coast rallies.

Earth Day has affected major environmental policy
 The first Earth Day has been acknowledged for contributing to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Earth Day is one of the world’s largest non-secular ‘holidays’  
The event went global in 1990, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries Earth Day activities in 1990 helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. According to Earth Day 1970 organizer Denis Hayes, Earth Day is now celebrated by more than a billion people every year.

Why April 22nd? Well.. it’s usually nice out!
 The Earth Day date was actually chosen for a number of reasons. As it was originally a campus ‘teach-in’, this date did not fall during spring break or exams. It did not conflict with religious holidays such as Easter or Passover, and perhaps most importantly, is late enough in spring to have decent weather!

So this Earth Day, why not get out and celebrate? Take a few moments to consider what a great planet we actually have. Find a local event, volunteer or just think what small actions you could take to help make our planet just a little greener.

Earth Day Network – http://www.earthday.org/
Earth Day Canada – http://www.earthday.ca/

March 26th, 2013

Where does London Drugs recycling go?

Circuit boards can contain gold and other precious metals – Photo: L. Craig

For most of our customers, once their recycling is dropped off, it’s out of sight, out of mind. But for London Drugs, the recycling bin is just the beginning of the process.
We do our homework, choosing recyclers who know where your materials go and what happens to them. This is especially important when it comes to electronics, which can contain some pretty hazardous materials.
So here are some quick notes on what goes where when you bring it to our big Blue Box.

Electronics – TV’s, computers, VCR’s, printers and other electronics are shipped to either GEEP (Alberta, Sask. & Man.) or E-Cycle  where they are separated into components such as plastic, glass, circuit boards, tubes, and various metals. Non-toxic materials are sorted and bundled for sale as commodities for remanufacture. Both GEEP and E-Cycle are certified through ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004.
Circuit boards and TV tubes are sent to smelters where they are safely melted down and their precious metals recovered.
NO London Drugs electronics for recycling are shipped offshore unprocessed.

GEN-diss-line

An Electronics Disassembly Line  – Photo: L.Craig

Small Appliances – As with electronics, all our small appliances are disassembled in Canada and separated into commodities.

Cell Phones and Batteries – These items are handled through the Call-2-Recycle program, the only free used battery and cellphone collection program in North America. Cellphones are recycled, refurbished and/or resold. When resold, a portion of the proceeds are donated to select charities. None of the broken down material makes its way into landfills. Batteries are processed at North American facilities, in BC, Ontario, Quebec and Pennsylvania, for recovery of cadmium and lithium.

L5140504

Recycled Paper returns to London Drugs as products.

Paper and CardboardCascades Recovery is our partner for recycling paper and cardboard. It is sorted and bundled up at their Surrey facility and sent to Canadian mills for remanufacture into paper products. Some of our recycled cardboard even makes its way back on to store shelves as recycled toilet tissue!

Soft Plastics, Bottles and Medication Containers – These are also collected by Cascades Recovery and sent to Orbis or Merlin Plastics in Delta, BC.

Styrofoam™ – All expanded polystyrene from London Drugs packaging that customers return is sent to Foam Only in Coquitlam, BC where it is compressed for remanufacture as polystyrene. This is a process that uses no heat and releases no toxins.

Light Bulbs, CFL Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes – Compact Fluorescent bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, so they must be handled with care. All of our light products are recycled through the LightRecycle program, managed by ProductCare. Bulbs are crushed in a controlled environment, so all toxins are filtered out and recovered.

As you can see, recycling is a complex science that goes well beyond the Blue Box. By working with top suppliers, we are doing our best to ensure we are part of the solution, not creating new problems down the line. If you want to know more, follow us on Twitter @WTGreenDeal, or comment below. We’re happy to talk more recycling with you.

July 12th, 2011

GreenDeal 101 – ECO-Fees and Product Stewardship

Let’s say you come into London Drugs and pick up a Compact Fluorescent Bulb for your hall light. At the checkout, (in BC) you will notice there’s something called a ‘CFL Levy’ of 25 cents added to the bill. It’s an environmental fee, which funds the recycling programs that take care of disposal when the bulb has reached the end of its long and efficient life. So who collects these fees? Why do we need them, and where do they go?

Product Stewardship – Industry and consumers taking care of the mess.
CFL bulbs are just the latest in a long line of products to receive eco-levies. In the 1990’s, municipal and Provincial governments realized they were paying a lot to handle the increasing waste from the products we throw away. In response, they began to legislate product producers to be responsible for recycling products, beginning with the most difficult-to-dispose-of items, such as paint, tires and lead-acid batteries. In BC, these programs were implemented in the form of industry-led stewardship associations responsible for the collection and recycling of old products.

Those who produce and use the products pay.
To fund these organizations, levies are set and passed on to the consumer. This was seen as a fairer way to fund recycling than using tax revenue. Fees can either be visible or invisible. Visible fees are fees charged at the retail level and shown on the consumer’s receipt while invisible fees are included in the cost of product.

Where does the money go?
The association responsible for your CFL bulb fee is Lightrecycle, managed by ProductCare. I followed our 25 cents into the stewardship system by talking with ProductCare Controller and Project Manager, Vnit Nath.
“The fees are sent to Product Care, and we use them to set up systems, then fund collection depots, transport and processing of the recycled products.” Vnit explained. “We also fund education and outreach programs to engage the public. All recycling must be done by certified processors, and our association is subject to a financial audit, which is publicly available.”

BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Nova Scotia have all implemented stewardship plans, and other jurisdictions are following suit.
In Alberta and Ontario, stewardship associations are quasi-governmental organizations. You can find a good overview of provincial (and a few US) associations here. Plans are in place for electronics and small appliances and will eventually be set up for larger appliances, packaging and more. It means more eco-fees, but savings for our municipalities and less waste. That’s worth more than a few cents at the checkout.

Links to find out more:

Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA)

BC Ministry of Environment Product Stewardship

Saskatchewan Waste Electrical Equipment Program

Province-by-Province Stewardship Overview

BC Product Stewardship Model Video

February 25th, 2011

Green Deal 101 – Composting


Did you know that kitchen waste makes up some 30% of household waste in Canada? Or that the methane created when these organics decompose in a landfill can be 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2? The good news is, organics are not really garbage. Most of this waste can be easily converted to rich, healthy soil. That’s composting. And it’s one of the best things you can do to cut waste and regenerate the soil.

If you have a back yard, or even a balcony, it’s relatively easy to get a composter going. Many municipalities sell them and some have special seasonal discounts. Composting right in the kitchen is also possible with a worm composter, but it takes a bit more dedication and care.

The composting process is pretty straightforward. You put in uncooked fruit and vegetable peelings, grass clippings, leaves, stale bread, eggshells, teabags, straw, coffee grounds and even dryer lint. Bacteria, fungi, microorganisms and worms turn it all into a dark, earthy, soil-like substance that actually smells rather fresh.

It’s important for a compost pile to have the right combination of ingredients and that it contain the right level of moisture. There are some good resources online where you can get specific information on compost content and maintenance.

Some municipalities , including most of Lower Mainland Vancouver, even have pick-up programs for compost, along with yard waste. Here is a link to information on the Vancouver program.
London Drugs also has some products that make composting a lot handier, like the Bag to Earth cellulose-lined compostable paper bags (a great choice for municipal programs) and the SureClose Food Scraps Container.

So whether you do it yourself or use a local municipal program, it’s a good idea to dig into composting.

Where to find out more:

City of Vancouver Food Scraps Collection Program
‘Here’s the Dirt’ PDF on composting from Metro Vancouver
‘Here’s the Dirt’ PDF on WORM composting from Metro Vancouver
Winter composting in Calgary
City of Saskatoon Composting

June 30th, 2010

Green Deal 101: What makes a Green Deal product ‘green’?

Since we started the program in 2008, the list of What’s the Green Deal products has steadily grown as shoppers demand more sustainable options and manufacturers find more ways to make them. So how does a product qualify for a Green Deal sign in your local London Drugs?

When a product is considered, the Green Deal team looks for the following benefits:

  • Organic Production
  • Reduced Packaging
  • Reduced Energy Use
  • Recyclable Packaging or content
  • Products that are degradable or compostable
  • Recycled content in products or packaging
  • Reduced synthetic chemicals / toxins
  • Local production
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Logical environmental advantages (such as rechargeable batteries)
  • Third-party certification
  • Self-declared environmental claims
  • Corporate responsibility

The best recommendation a product can have is third-party certification, such as BC Certified Organic, Transfair or Energy Star. Self-declared claims are also accepted if the product’s package and/or website offer reasonable transparency and support for the claim. We may contact manufacturers directly with specific questions in these cases. We also look at the product relative to others in its category. (If all the products on a shelf have recycled packaging, for instance, it would take more than that alone to qualify for Green Deal status)

Corporate behaviour plays a role, too. Does the manufacturer contribute to environmental or social causes? Are they measuring and working towards reducing their carbon footprint?

Ultimately, ‘green’ is in the eye of the beholder – there is no such thing as a ‘zero-footprint’ product. That’s why What’s the Green Deal is an information program, pointing out product benefits that also have benefits for the environment and leaving the ultimate green shopping decision to you.

We continue to refine and define our What’s the Green Deal process, so if you have feedback on our program or products, we’d love to hear from you. Send us a message on Twitter @WTGreenDeal or leave a comment on this blog.

Because the real Green Deal is what you do with it.

June 27th, 2009

GreenDeal 101: Greenwashing

GreenDeal 101 is our series of blog articles written specifically to help newcomers to the Green scene understand some of the terminology and issues in the world of sustainability.

No, greenwashing is not doing your dishes with an eco-friendly liquid.
Greenwashing is the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. This is especially relevant, as new ‘green’ products seem to appear almost daily. Furthermore, the issues of what defines ‘green’, and what we can do about it are constantly developing. So how do we identify what’s green and what’s greenwashing?
One of the best definitions I’ve encountered comes from environmental marketing agency TerraChoice. It’s actually a list of definitions they call the ‘7 Sins of Greenwashing’: (reprinted with permission)
1. Sin of the Hidden Trade-off – Suggesting a product is ‘green’ based on an unreasonably narrow set of attributes. (Or one small one)
2. Sin of No Proof – An environmental claim that cannot be substantiated by easily accessible supporting information or a third-party certification.
3. Sin of Vagueness – Claims that are so poorly defined or broad that their real meaning is likely to be misunderstood by the consumer. For instance, ‘All natural’ isn’t necessarily ‘green’.
4. Sin of Irrelevance – An environmental claim that may be truthful but is unimportant or unhelpful for consumers seeking environmentally preferable products. ‘CFC-free’ is a common example, since it is a frequent claim despite
the fact that CFCs are banned by law.
5. Sin of Lesser of Two Evils – Claims that may be true within the product category but that risk distracting the consumer from the greater environmental impacts of the category (eg, organic cigarettes)
6. Sin of Fibbing, (fortunately, the least frequent sin) – Environmental claims
that are simply false.
7. Sin of Worshipping False Labels – The imitation of third-party certification with fake labels or false claims of third-party endorsement.
All in all, they create a pretty stringent list of checkpoints for green marketing claims, so don’t be discouraged if some of your favourite brands fall short on a few points. Just use them as a guide to judge for yourself what greenwashing means. Then provide feedback to the companies and products you think need it and be part of changing green marketing for the better. London Drugs carries a LOT of products, and the team behind What’s the Green Deal does its best to analyze and report green product claims fairly. But if you discover a product you think is greenwashing, please let them know. The more we all do to let manufacturers know we want as much transparency as possible, the greener things will get.