Flooding across southwestern BC has brought with it a deluge of waterlogged debris—insulation, drywall, silt-soaked couches and swollen cabinets—in such volume that the transfer stations have found themselves overwhelmed. To clarify, transfer stations are facilities for the sorting of debris according to how they must be processed further down the line; for example, compost, recycling, or disposal at a landfill. With transfer stations at capacity and flood damages accumulating on the daily, masses and masses of unsorted debris become destined for the landfill—skipping the transfer stations entirely and becoming so much more unsustainable waste. But we can’t slow down on debris removal. For the health and safety of everyone out working and living in flood-impacted areas, ditches and drainage need to be cleared, homes need to be cleaned out, and roads need to be made accessible.
PPCR’s people have contributed to flood restoration and disaster relief efforts in Metro Vancouver, Abbotsford, and all over the Fraser Valley. Partnered with Maple Leaf Cleaning & Restoration, PPCR has been able to extend assistance as far as Merritt and the Okanagan. With our feet on the ground all over the map, the urgent need for more transfer stations became clear. BC’s Flood Waste and Debris Management Plan presented a workable foundation. From there, we looked to the line of questioning that has been our guide from the beginning: What can we do? What can we do better?
Hence, the Green Site Initiative: partnered with MBC Group and Aviva, PPCR has built a fully operational transfer site. Within 48 hours, our new Green Site was up! A lease was signed, signage designed and printed, and all logistics were set in place. Shout out to BrandIt Promo, SpeedPro Signs, and Premier Graphics, who produced our signage in record time! Located at 22867 Fraser Hwy, Langley, the Green Site is open and active. Contaminated materials are separated out for safe disposal, while metals, wiring, cardboard, glass, wood, and recyclable plastics are sorted and reclaimed—ready to become not waste, but viable sustainable resources.
The Green Site Initiative is part of a larger ongoing project—the Eco-Claim Initiative, in which we develop strategies for dealing with CATs (Catastrophe Claims) in a sustainable manner. The people of this industry are ready to work towards a better, more environmentally sustainable way to deal with CATs; MBC Group and Aviva have joined us with the Eco-Claim Initiative and are taking steps to integrate sustainable practices into their day-to-day operations.
The Green Site and the Eco-Claim Initiative are natural evolutions of our commitment toward the protection of the environment and the improvement of sustainable practices within the restoration industry. To hear about PPCR’s evolution in the words of our own CFO and Director of Sustainability, Jamie Madill, check out his interview in the December 8 episode of CBC’s The Current, titled “What We Can Do: How to fight climate change at home, at work, and in your finances.” The Current’s host, Matt Galloway, became aware of us through our partnership with Climate Smart. Fitting! Because Climate Smart has been an invaluable ally in this endeavour.
In 2016, PPCR became Climate Smart certified; this provided our team with a baseline of data on PPCR’s carbon emissions at the time, as well as a framework for our carbon footprint reduction plan. Our greatest source of greenhouse gas emission was from transportation—our vehicular fleet. PPCR’s transition to electric vehicles began in 2016 with three Chevy Volts. So far we’ve expanded into twenty-one electric vehicles and nine chargers. In the spirit of supporting other locals who have committed to an electrical vehicle, the chargers are available for public use. Our goal is to make our fleet at least twenty-five percent electric by 2023.
In 2016, BC Hydro provided us with an energy audit of our Richmond facilities. Every new piece of data on our energy consumption has had us asking, again: What can we do? What can we do better? We insulated our bay doors. We converted over to high-efficiency LED bulbs with motion sensing. These changes have off-set our energy consumption greater than the power drawn by our EV chargers.
At our warehouse, a visitor might notice a lot of activity that resembles a smaller prototype of our Green Site. Right by our bay doors, debris is separated into useable categories; wood in one bin, recyclable plastics in another, and all our cardboard compressed into bales destined for recycling at Cascade. Any visitor to the Richmond facility can see the visual evidence that debris management has played an important part in PPCR’s work towards sustainability. Anyone who has worked there for a few years can tell you that we keep finding ways to get better at it.
Little by little, the changes accumulate. Since 2016, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by twenty-two percent, and we intend to keep going. The more we build this momentum, the greater impact we will have. PPCR is proud to help set a precedent of how companies in the restoration industry—or any industry—can make meaningful improvements and commit to sustainability.