August 29th, 2018

Keeping Other Flexible Plastic Packaging Out of Landfill in BC – 
5 Things You Need to Know

Sustainable recycling flexible plastic packaging

London Drugs stores in BC are now accepting Other Flexible Plastic Packaging (separately from soft plastics recycling) as part of RecycleBC’s new take back program. More and more packaging of this type is in our shopping cart and cupboards. Now you can keep it out of landfill and help RecycleBC determine how it can ultimately best be recycled.

Here’s what you need to know when you drop by your local BC London Drugs store with your recycling:


1. What is ‘Other Flexible Plastic Packaging’?

This program covers a LOT of bag and package types. The basics accepted types are:

  • Stand up and zipper lock pouches
  • Crinkly wrappers and bags, including chip bags, bar and candy wrappers
  • Flexible packaging with plastic seal
  • Woven net and plastic bags
  • Non food protective packaging

 See a more complete list below, or go to RecycleBC for more info


2. What is NOT accepted in this program?

  • NO soft, stretchy plastic bags such as bread bags and shopping bags. These go in the Soft Plastics bin.
  • NO Plastic squeeze tubes
  • NO Plastic-lined paper (or paper-lined plastic!)
  • NO biodegradable or oxo plastics
  • NO PVC or vinyl
  • NO 6-pack rings
  • NO Plastic strapping or squishy foam

3. Why so picky about what’s accepted?

To help develop recycling processes, it really helps to have as pure a stream as possible of the right materials. Non-accepted items can make it difficult to identify recyclable plastics, and may even clog up machinery.


4. What happens to the material collected?

Other Flexible Plastic Packaging collected will be used for research and development at Merlin Plastics in Delta, BC. They will run tests to help develop a viable process for recycling this varied material. What cannot be recycled will be recovered and produced into engineered fuel, used in commercial operations such as concrete plants.


5. What is ‘Engineered Fuel’?

Engineered fuel is an energy product engineered to exact specifications be a direct replacement for traditional non-renewable resources. It can decrease the need for fossil fuels such as coal. But plastic is made from oil, so greenhouse gasses are still emitted when the fuel is combusted.
RecycleBC’s goal is to Increase the materials recycled and decrease the amount produced into engineered fuel as the technology is refined.


So gather up those Other Flexible Plastics and bring them down to your Local BC London Drugs store. It’s one more step we can take to reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill.


The Great Other Flexible Plastic Packaging Take-Back List (BC Only)

Here’s a more detailed list of Other Flexible Plastic Examples. If you like, you can print off a PDF for handy reference on recycling day.Flexible-Packaging-Take-Back-List

Stand up and zipper lock pouches

  • Bags for Sugars, oatmeals, grated cheese, coffee and pouches with a zipper lock
  • Deli meat and cheese bags
  • Baby food pouches (leave the cap on)
  • soap refill pouches (leave the cap on)
  • Plastic pet food bags

Crinkly wrappers and bags

  • Crinkly bags
  • Candy bags
  • Chocolate and candy or energy bar wrappers
  • Dried food and pasta bags
  • Wet wipe bags (including with hard plastic dispenser)
  • Cookie bags
  • Cellophane
  • Foil gift wrap (the plastic kind, not metallic ink on paper)
  • Cheese slice bags (please wash them off!)

Flexible packaging with plastic seal

  • Vacuum seal packaging (please clean out any meat packaging)
  • flexible packaging with plastic seal (Fresh pasta)
  • Flexible lid with rigid base packages (bologna and some deli meats)
  • Woven and net plastic bags (plastic weave, not burlap)

Non food protective packaging

  • Plastic shipping envelopes
  • Bubble wrap
  • Plastic air packets (e-commerce)
  • Plastic bags with non 2-3-4 resin code
  • Shrink wraps on meats (wash them off please!)

August 10th, 2018

Sunscreen Safety – 5 Things You Need to Know

Sunscreen is one of those things we are supposed to apply liberally to our arms, legs, face and kids. … so what’s actually IN it? How does it work? Are some sunscreens ‘greener’ than others? Here’s a little summertime reading for anyone planning to protect themselves from the sun.

1. How sunscreen works: There are 2 types:

MINERAL sunscreen creates a layer of particles (zinc or titanium oxide) that deflect the sun’s rays.
• Effective immediately
• Does not degrade from UV exposure
• Does not penetrate the skin
• Also effective against UVA rays
• Safe for use in coral areas

CHEMICAL sunscreen uses compounds that absorb the sun’s rays and turn them into non-damaging wavelengths.
• Easy to apply, non-whitening
• Requires wait time to be effective
• Chemicals can penetrate skin
Chemicals degrade when exposed to UV
May harm coral reefs

2. Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients
Chemical sunscreens typically contain a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients:
oxybenzone
octinoxate
octisalate
octocrylene
homosalate
avobenzone

Recently, concerns have been raised about long-term safety of some of these ingredients, particularly oxybenzone (benzophenone-3 ) which, in addition to sun protection, acts as a penetration enhancer. This chemical has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cellular damage.
(Oxybenzone is present in over 500 other North American cosmetic items.)  (1)

Watch the Spray!
Spray sunscreens have increased in popularity, but some experts don’t recommend them, because of the hazard of inhaling chemicals and particles. (2)

3.Look for Broad Spectrum Protection
The suns rays come in different lengths, and it’s a good idea to protect against them all.

UVA radiation
• Goes deeper into the skin (dermis).
• Causes premature aging and wrinkles.
• Causes tanning.

UVB radiation
• Affects the skin’s surface (epidermis).
• Contributes most to burning of skin.
• Damages your eyes. (5)

4. Is Higher SPF Better?

People assume that they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunscreen as from SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection may be negligible. Used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer adequate protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburn. (6)

UV protection does not follow a linear relationship, meaning that if you apply half of the recommended amount you get LESS than half of the labeled SPF protection.

5. Protect ecosystems and coral too – with biodegradable and Reef Safe options

25 to 60 million bottles worth of sunscreen wash off into coral reef areas each year, and researchers have found that common sunscreen chemicals can be toxic to coral health. (3)
Now Hawaii has passed a law that will ban the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide, (natural mineral ingredients), have not been found harmful to corals. (4) If you are swimming in nature, choose one of these options.

Great Green Sunscreen Options
London Drugs is pleased to offer a range of sunscreen options. Here are some choices that protect as sustainably as possible:

Attitude Mineral Sunscreens
Mineral- based protection: Non-nano Zinc Oxide
Ecologo Certified™
Vegan, not tested on animals
UVA, UVB protection
Made in Canada

Aveeno Mineral & Aveeno Baby
Mineral based protection
UVA, UVB protection

Badger Sunscreens
Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Mineral Protection
Biodegradable
87% organic ingredients
UVA, UVB protection

Boo Bamboo Natural Sunscreen
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Oxide
UVA, UVB protection
Made in Canada

Goddess Garden
Certified organic
Non-Nano, Reef Safe, Non-GMO, Biodegradable
Vegan, Cruelty Free, Paraben and Phthalate Free
UVA, UVB protection

Green Beaver
Non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide mineral protection
100% natural, biodegradable and reef friendly
Made in Canada
UVA, UVB protection

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide
UVA, UVB protection

LEARN MORE at greendeal.ca
Blogs, videos, articles & products to help you live a little greener.

Sources:

(1) Source: London Drugs Health Blog 2014 – http://healthblog.londondrugs.com/suncare-update-2014
(2) Source: Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Report 2017 – http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/executive-summary/#.WW_md4qQxE5
(3) Environmental Working Group – Do the Chemicals in your sunscreen damage fragile coral reefs? – http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2016/07/do-chemicals-your-sunscreen-damage-fragile-coral-reefs#.WW_vvIqQxE4
(4) US National Park Service Bulletin – Protect Yourself, Protect the Reef! – https://cdhc.noaa.gov/_docs/Site%20Bulletin_Sunscreen_final.pdf
(5) Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation -http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/sun-screen.html
(6) Environmental Working Group – What’s wrong with high SPF? – http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/whats-wrong-with-high-spf/#.WW_054qQxE4

July 7th, 2018

Don’t just toss it! The London Drugs Recycling Zone is a Winner at Surrey Canada Day.

At one of BC’s biggest free family Canada Day events, folks had a chance to learn more about recycling and win some great prizes with the ‘Don’t Just Toss It’ game at London Drugs Recycling Zone. Canadians of all ages lined up to test their accuracy and see just how many recyclables they can bring back to their local store.

The London Drugs team, including Tammy Pearce and Terry Goodman, (pictured) helped handle the lineups and questions from people interested in reducing their waste.

London Drugs was also the sponsor of recycling stations set up all around the grounds, where employees from Green Chair recycling helped event goers separate their waste, diverting plastics, compost, containers and more from landfill.

Happy Canada Day to all, and thanks to everyone who went the extra mile to learn more about recycling and divert their event waste.

We hope to see you again at an event near you!

June 30th, 2018

Some Great Green Canadian Products For Your Canada Day

When July 1st arrives in all of its red and white splendour, Canadians have a lot to celebrate. Including some innovative and sustainable products that are designed and manufactured by companies right in our own back yard. Here are just a few of our favourites:

Que Pasa Organic Tortilla Chips and Salsa Made in sunny Delta BC, these chips are made from organic corn, ground with volcanic mill stones. Their salsa varieties are the perfect complement, for a weekend at the cabin or a party on your apartment balcony.

Nature’s Path Organic Cereals and Granola From humble roots, this BC-based company is now North America’s largest organic cereal producer. And they remain committed to the principles of organic farming, respect for the land and reducing waste. From Organic Steel Cut Oats to Love Crunch granola (with dark chocolate!) there are too many varieties to list here. Just pick one and dig in.

Earth Group Coffee The Earth Group is based in Edmonton Alberta, and through a worldwide agreement with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) donates 100% of their profits to WFP to fund school meal programs. That’s a coffee that’s pretty nice to wake up to.

 

London Orchards Pure HoneyAs a proud Canadian company ourselves, we are pleased to offer you this 100% Canadian honey, made by 100% Canadian bees. True Source Certified through the supply chain to the country of origin and the beekeeper that harvested the honey from the beehive.

London Naturals Organic Syrup What could be more Canadian, eh?

 

Green Beaver Shampoo, Toothpaste, Deodorant, Lip Balm and Sunscreen This family owned company created the first Canadian organic mineral sunscreen with the help of the National Research Council and is dedicated to using certified organic Canadian ingredients in their whole product line. And there’s a beaver on every label.

Bag-to-Earth Waste Bags Collect your food scraps right with these 100% Canadian, 100% Compostable bags. They contain no plastic, so they are compatible with the most municipal collection systems.

Nellie’s All Natural Products From their home base in North Vancouver, Nellie’s has been making biodegradable, non-toxic natural-ingredient based laundry and household cleaning products since before green was cool.

Sugar Sheet Copy Paper This forest-free ‘paper’ is the best alternative to not printing at all. Made from residue waste of sugar cane, this enterprise was started by a printing company in New Westminster, BC. Saving trees – now THAT’S the real Green Canadian Deal.

 

April 25th, 2018

London Drugs Saskatchewan Recognized for Waste Minimization – Congratulations!

London Drugs Saskatchewan Waste Minimization Award

It was a very rewarding evening for the hard working representatives of our four Saskatchewan stores, as they accepted the 2017 Saskatchewan Waste Minimization Award in the Corporation category.

At the award podium were Greg Hern – HR Manager, Environment from SaskTel, John Van Koll – London Drugs Store Manager, Sheandra Stewart – London Drugs Store Manager, and Dustin Duncan – Saskatchewan Minister of Environment.

Winning this award was no small feat. In 2017, Saskatchewan London Drugs stores diverted 455,753 lbs. of waste from landfill, including; 29,093 lbs. of electronics; 13,603 lbs of batteries; 54,039 lbs. of small appliances; 32,493 lbs of food donations; and 14,047 lbs of organic waste.

“I’m honoured to accept this award from the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction council.” said Sheandra Stewart, “I’m so proud tonight for London Drugs to be recognized for all we do at our stores and corporately, for the betterment of our planet, our staff and our customers.”

London Drugs has a long history in Saskatchewan and remains committed to our continued journey toward sustainability by reducing waste and providing greener shopping and product options for our customers.

On behalf of the roughly 350 people working and serving to bring an exceptional shopping experience to Regina or Saskatoon every day, we say congratulations, and thanks – you are the real Green Deal!

April 22nd, 2018

London Drugs Prince George Racks up the Pounds at the Recycling Tour on Earth Day 2018.

Prince George Recycling

As the snows recede and things begin to green up in northern BC, London Drugs Store Manager Christian Schenk welcomed Prince George recyclers to celebrate Earth Day with their annual Recycling Tour event.

Christian and the Prince George London Drugs team have been running this event since 2014, and this years results show the citizens of Prince George are pitching in.

“We received two full recycle boxes of batteries, two full cages of electronics, Styrofoam, cardboard and more,” says Schenk, “Everyone was quite impressed and thankful for our recycling efforts.”

Christian and the Prince George store team are also walking the talk themselves, with a red-hot 97.76% waste diversion rate.

Way to go, Prince George! You are the REAL Green Deal!

London Drugs Recycling

April 21st, 2018

Nanaimo Recycles BIG TIME at the Recycling Tour on Earth Day Weekend

Maybe it was the spring cleaning feeling in the air, or the excitement of Earth Day, but whatever the reason, the citizens of Nanaimo came out in force to support the London Drugs Recycling Tour on April 21st.

“It was a spectacular turnout,” Says London Drugs Retail Sustainability Specialist Maury McCausland, “We received 5 big cages full of electronics, 8 skids of Styrofoam and 10 skids of soft plastic. ”That’s all good, usable material that may otherwise have ended up in regional landfills, so it’s a win-win when it gets recycled right.”

Thanks to everyone who came out! If you want to gather up your own recycling, the Recycling Tour continues throughout the spring and summer with events in Courtenay, Campbell River, Squamish, Gibsons, Richmond, Surrey, Airdrie, Burnaby, Calgary and Lethbridge.

Click here for all the details.

And remember – you don’t have to wait for a special day to recycle at your local London Drugs. Here’s a list of the materials you can bring back to your local store any day.

April 21st, 2018

Recycling Tour Meets Pancake Breakfast in Downtown Vancouver.

London Drugs Recycling Tour Vancouver

It was a sunny spring day in the atrium of the Woodward’s building on Abbott street, where long tables were set up with flowers, linens and settings for the PHS Community Services Pancake Breakfast. Assistant store manager Robert Rogers and Green Deal blogger Lorne Craig were on hand to welcome the crowd, spread the word about London Drugs’ recycling and accept items as part of our 2018 Recycling Tour series. People brought in computers, light bulbs and more.

“It’s a great location for a wonderful community event,” said Craig, “And even some of the more dedicated recyclers were surprised at some of the things we take back. So it’s always good to connect.”

The Recycling Tour continues throughout the spring and summer with events in Courtenay, Campbell River, Squamish, Gibsons, Richmond, Surrey, Airdrie, Burnaby, Calgary and Lethbridge.

Click here for all the dates and details.

April 19th, 2018

Take the #BringYourbag Challenge with RecycleBC and you could win Whitecaps tickets.

London Drugs BringYourBag challenge 2018

On Wednesday April 18, London Drugs and Save-On-Foods teamed up with Recycle BC to launch the #BringYourBag Challenge.

Take the one-week #BringYourBag challenge at RecycleBC.ca/BringYourBag, and see if you can go one week without using a single-use bag. Sign up, engage on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and you can enter to win a pair of Vancouver Whitecaps FC tickets.

Maury McCausland, London Drugs Retail Sustainability Specialist,was on hand for the launch. “We started charging a bag reduction fee in January 2018 and have reduced our bag use at London Drugs stores considerably as a result,” says McCausland. “We are happy to do our part to help reduce plastic bag use even further.”

Over two million plastic bags are thrown in the garbage every week in the City of Vancouver alone, and Canadians use between nine and 15 billion plastic bags every year.

“We all need to work together to reduce the use of single-use bags,” said Allen Langdon, Managing Director of Recycle BC. “By sharing a common goal, and through a combination of incentives and education, we’re encouraging positive behaviour change to keep plastic bags out of our landfills and oceans.”

So, can YOU go without single-use bags for a week? Take the #BringYourBag Challenge!

March 25th, 2018

10 years of recycling – What does 113 Million pounds of recycling look like?

10 years of London Drugs Recycling

2017 marks our 10th year of tracking our recycling by store, diversion rate and materials. So here are some of the highlights from the year and the decade. It’s a record of which all our employees and recycling customers can be extremely proud.

So how much IS 113 million pounds?

The weight of 50 Olympic Sized Swimming Pools 1
or
Enough to fill a 12 kilometer freight train 2
or
Two full container ships3

Any way you look at it, it’s a lot! So what did that decade of recycling include?

  • 492,000lbs of styrofoam
  • 714,000 lbs of batteries
  • 870,000 lbs of computers

All recycled responsibly, thanks to our recycling customers, hard-working employees and recycling partners – you are the REAL Green Deal!

  • Awards and recognition over the past 10 years:
  • 2008 Recycling Council of BC Private Sector Recognition Award
  • 2010 Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council Corporate Leadership Award
  • 2011 Recycling Council of Alberta Corporate Leadership Award
  • 2012 – Finalist, Canada’s Greenest Retail Practices Award, GLOBE
  • 2012 – BC Hydro Powersmart Excellence Award
  • 2012 – Retail Council of Canada Best Corporate & Social Responsibility
  • 2012 Call2Recycle Leader in Sustainability Award
  • 2013 – Airdrie Eco Edge Award
  • 2013 – Canadian Stewardship Award
  • 2013 – Alberta Environment Emerald Award
  • 2016 – Quest Food Exchange, Most Valuable Partner
  • 2017 – Surrey City Awards, Green City Category
  • 2018 – City of Vancouver Award of Excellence, Greenest City Leadership
  • 2018 –  Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council, Waste Minimization, Corporation

2017 Stats at a glance

Average London Drugs waste diversion rate, all stores and warehouse: 93.9%
+1.1% over 2016 Diversion Rate

We continue to work with individual stores to improve recycling, and find solutions for new materials, such as wooden pallets, which we now recycle. Our top stores go above and beyond, sorting their garbage, and have been able to completely remove their bulk waste bins. More than half of London Drugs stores are over our goal of 95% diversion.
Best single London Drugs store recycling – St. Albert Alberta, with a 99.97% waste diversion rate!

In 2017 we recycled:

3711 lbs of cell phones – That’s about the weight of a fully grown White Rhino, and an increase of 32% over 2016
42,155 lbs of fluorescent lights – Keeping dangerous toxins like mercury out of our landfills – a 9% increase over 2016 Recycling Partner LightRecycle
122,780 lbs of batteries – Thats weight equivalent to 2.3 MILLION AA size batteries, and a 5% increase over 2016 Recycling Partner: Call2Recycle
370,751 lbs of computers and electronics – That’s equivalent to about 5300 old style 27” TVs, and a 10,000 lb increase over 2016

ONE LESS BAG
Since 2006 we have been reducing plastic bag use through education and reusable alternatives. In 2018 we introduced a 5¢ Bag Reduction Fee to help reduce bag use even further.

We share this success with customers who bring recycling to our stores, employees who track every piece of waste and anyone who brings back their packaging to their local London Drugs.
Together we can make a real difference in waste reduction.

The Math

1 The weight of an Olympic swimming pool, filled waist deep, is estimated at 220,000lbs Austin Bugden, Engineering Technologist
https://www.quora.com/How-do-I-visualise-a-1-million-kg-What-on-Earth-is-this-heavy
2 Average weight of freight in a Canadian rail car: 83.5 tons https://www.railcan.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Rail_Trends_2016.pdf Based on average of 88 60-foot freight cars per mile https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100209154253AALKlg4 113,000,000 lbs / 167,0000 lbs per car / 88 cars per mile x 1.6 = a freight train of approximately 12.3 km
3 Because of the wide variety of cargo, there is no ‘average‘ freighter ship. But Ed Enos, State & USCG licensed Harbor Pilot, estimated that if a 700-foot ship carries 1000 containers, each holding 25 tons of goods, the payload for one such vessel would be 25000 tons, or 50,000,000 pounds.
https://www.quora.com/Approximately-how-many-tons-can-the-average-large-cargo-ship-carry

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