My curiosity was piqued when I read the title of an advertisement in Saanich News: “London Drugs thanks customers for recycling over 90,000lbs of Styrofoam with BRING BACK the PACK”. London Drugs recycles Styrofoam? Really?
A quick read and I soon found out that yes, London Drugs does take Styrofoam and several other items. A “clip and save recycling list” details cell phones, PDA’s, batteries, ink jet cartridges, electrical and electronic goods, and CFL’s among others. For a complete list see http://www.greendeal.ca/recycle.html. According to the advertisement 90,000lbs of Styrofoam is about 90 tractor trailer trucks stuffed full. This is the amount of Styrofoam that London Drugs customers have helped divert from Western Canadian landfills over the last three years.
Before you pack up your trunk, however, do note that they take back packaging materials only from items purchased at their store. You must show your receipt when you drop off the packaging at their customer service desk. This is a limitation that makes perfect sense to me. I think the fact that London Drugs has a program like this in the first place is fantastic. "BRING BACK the PACK" is part of a program instituted by London Drugs called What’s the Green Deal.
A visit to their website http://www.greendeal.ca/ provided more information about their Bring Back the Pack program, an impressive list of corporate initiatives, a list of recycling fees for items that you can return to their stores and much more. A message from the Senior VP, Clint Mahlman, describes What’s the Green Deal as a program that is “a source of useful information that can help you and your family shop a little greener, before, during and after your visit to our store". Besides the recycling they also have products in store that are marked with a "green deal" sign. For a look at the criteria used to determine whether a product qualifies for the label and a list of products check out green deal products.
I checked out their website one more time before publishing this post and a recent green deal blog entry had the picture below of a bike outfitted with styrofoam. Apparently it has been travelling around Victoria over the last couple of weeks bringing people's attention to the recycling program. You can even ask for a ride. I have not had the pleasure of seeing it in person, but I find it very amusing. I think it certainly shows some creative thinking on the part of London Drugs.
I often view corporations as large, impersonal entities that care more about their bottom line than looking out for the environment. I think it is great that London Drugs is showing some leadership in this area. I am sure that programs encouraging waste reduction, and promoting sustainability, take some effort to get rolling and have a price tag attached. I feel that if a company is willing to put such programs in place they should be rewarded. After checking out their green deal website I will certainly put London Drugs higher up on my mental list of places to shop. I would also be interested to hear of any other companies that make taking care of the environment a priority...