The first of its kind in Vancouver, the Green Recycling Hub officially opened its doors, setting a standard for collaboration and innovation in the recycling industry.
United We Can, a social enterprise that supports low-income binners, and Recycling Alternative, a private materials recycling firm, have partnered with the City of Vancouver to move into the newly renovated 30,000-square-foot cooperative recycling centre. By combining efforts, United We Can and Recycling Alternative are creating operational efficiencies and increasing their competitiveness.
“This project is a powerful partnership that creates new jobs while strongly supporting Vancouver’s Greenest City 2020 zero waste goal,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson. “GreenHub expands Vancouver’s leadership on recycling programs and innovative waste diversion, supports local binners, and grows our green economy.”
Not only does United We Can enable binners to earn extra cash to pay for food, clothing, and rent, but it also employs people who traditionally suffer from barriers to employment. Their work also helps to keep Vancouver clean. United We Can expects to recycle over 60,000 used containers a day, equating to more than 20 million containers that are diverted from the landfill each year.
“United We Can has been working for more than six years on relocating to a larger, more suitable facility that can help us meet our objectives. This unique partnership with Recycling Alternative now opens opportunities to better serve both the business community and the community at large,” said Gerry Martin, United We Can general manager.
On May 16, 2013, City Council approved the lease of City-owned property at 449/455 Industrial Avenue in the False Creek Flats for the purpose of providing space for recycling facilities and the establishment of the Green Recycling Hub.
“The GreenHub represents the start of our vision for the False Creek Flats to be Vancouver’s centre of green enterprise. We hope for it to be a home for: businesses forging innovative opportunities in waste reduction, recycling, recovery, and materials reclamation; the emerging local green economy; and the creation of inclusive green jobs,” said Louise Schwarz, Recycling Alternative co-owner.
A recent report on Vancouver’s green economy by the Vancouver Economic Commission found that the number of green jobs and local food jobs in the City of Vancouver has increased by 19 per cent since 2010.
To build on this momentum, the report calls for a concerted effort to create more policy and programs that inspire innovative practices. The Green Recycling Hub’s model will provide a template for further development of similar collaborations. The City of Vancouver hopes this model will be reviewed and replicated by other organizations to enable more green businesses to thrive and prosper.