Northern Rockies Sorting Facility
The Northern Rockies Sorting Facility will be diverting for-deposit recyclables from oil and gas camp operations, & providing valuable funding in the community.
About Your Organization
Northern Rockies Regional Municipality
Canada, BC, Fort Nelson
Country where this solution is creating social impact
Canada, BC, Fort Nelson
Region in BC where your solution creates social impact
Northern British Columbia.
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How long has your organization been operating?
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Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Idea (you're poised to launch)
How long have you been in operation?
Still in idea phase, but looking to launch soon
Which of the following best describes the barrier(s) your solution addresses? Choose up to two
The Need: Describe the need for your solution and the size and characteristics of the community(ies) your solution is engaging
Fort Nelson and the Northern Rockies are a remote, northern community experiencing a boom of natural gas exploration with one of the largest shale gas plays in North America. Approximately 11 oil & gas producers operate out of approximately 35 camps in the area, few with sustainability in mind. Fort Nelson, the service centre for the region, lacks a comprehensive recycling program, and as a result, materials from each camp operation (+1,000 people per camp), where even the smallest generate in excess of 30,000 recyclable bottles and cans per month that currently get landfilled as a result of cost effectiveness. For-deposit recyclabes are currently the only waste being counted; cardboard, tin cans, and plastics are neither diverted from the landfill nor measured at present.
The Solution: What is your solution? Be specific!
The Northern Rockies Sorting Facility (managed by the Northern Rockies Social Planning Council) has secured agreements with two oil and gas production companies to obtain all of the for-deposit containers produced monthly from their camp operations, transported to Fort Nelson on empty transport back-hauls from the field. Diverting the for-deposit recyclables from the landfill will not only lengthen the life of the landfill, but reduce GHG's and the NRRM's environmental footprint. The operational design of the sorting facility is such that recyclables will be sorted by both people needed casual, temporary labour, those with barriers to employment, and representatives and groups of service and non-profit organizations wishing to raise money for their organizations.
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include the primary activities involved in your solution.
For-deposit containers will be diverted at the camp locations, and "donated" to the Northern Rockies Sorting Facility. Casual workers, people with barriers to traditional employment, and representatives from non-profit organizations and group requiring fundraising opportunities will be provided the venue to sort bottles and cans within the facility for per-bag payment. For-deposit recyclables are effectively diverted from the landfill, while income is returned to those who seek casual labour or have barriers to employment, and to groups who provide a variety of services to the community (i.e. Cadets, Friends of Rachel Club, Swim Club, Family Development Society, etc.). The Social Planning Council retains a portion of the value of each bag sorted to cover operational costs and fund further programming.
The Marketplace: Who are your peers and competitors? Identify others working to address the same needs as you and indicate what sets you apart from them.
Currently there is one waste management company operating a Return-It Depot, who has agreed to handle the bagged containers and pay the same deposits on the bags offered to private customers (primarily residential users who wish to sort and return their containers personally). The Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM) operates a bottle donation drop bin, where non-profits or fundraising groups can sign-up to 'manage' the bin for one month at a time, retaining all bottles and the value associated. The NRRM will likely consolidate the bottle donation bin with the Sorting Facility once operational.
This Entry is about (Issues)
Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world.
On a one year trial, each month, one oil and gas producer "donated" a 40 foot tractor trailer full of recyclable containers to the Friendship Society, who are co-located with Employment Services. The intent was that having an ongoing supply of containers would provide an earning opportunity for people looking for temporary employment. The reality was that coordinating the sorting and returning of the containers proved operationally challenging, and with no shelter for sorting, it was an opportunity passed over more often than not. The supply of bottles soon exceeded the ability to sort and return them. The other reality was that if the trailers of containers weren't recycled in Fort Nelson, they would be redirected to the landfill as the cost to transport them to the next largest community was cost prohibitive. It was also determined that each trailer generates approx. $3,000 in revenue, valued revenue for an organization otherwise largely dependent on sporadic grant funding.
Please describe the goal of your initiative; outline what you are trying to achieve
The goal of the initiative is to encourage corporate responsibility in the waste management of natural resource camp operations, by providing a venue for companies to "do the right thing" and divert their recyclable waste from the landfill. Additionally, the revenue available through the return of the containers will help fund (and support the sustainability of) the Northern Rockies Social Planning Council, allowing them to achieve their primary vision of building a healthy, desirable community where all members can reach their full potential. The facility will provide cash employment (casual, temporary, and to individuals with barriers to employment), as well as opportunities for other service organizations to raise funds to advance their organizational goals.
What has been the impact of your solution to date?
To date, the Northern Rockies Sorting Facility has completed its business plan, showing a projection of break even in year one. The NRRM has contributed a building and will be relocating and servicing the building on municipal property within the landfill transfer site (approximately $30,000 in value). The Northern Rockies Social Planning Council plan to hire a site manager, and have negotiated the return/donation of containers from two oil & gas producers operating sizable (approx. 2,500 people) camps in the region on a monthly basis. A huge opportunity exists (depending on the capacity of the sorting facility) to negotiate the return/donation of containers from additional partners in the oil & gas industry.
What is your projected impact over the next five years?
The Sorting Facility projects that if only one trailer per month were to be diverted from the landfill, there would be a cost savings to the NRRM of approx. $17,000 per year ($85,000 in 5 yrs), and a much longer lifespan of the landfill as well. If multiple trailers of containers are diverted, the relief to both the environment and operational expenses becomes exponential. There would be significant impact to the workforce seeking casual or temporary employment with limited jobs for unskilled labourers, and a divisive gap between earnings for those jobs and the cost of living in Fort Nelson. Finally, access to regular fundraising will reduce the dependency of service organizations on the ever-depleting number of grants available, providing sustainability to their groups and purpose.
What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?
Some potential barriers include:
A shortage of sorters - countered by a permanent employment strategy, and operations manager.
Less than anticipated number of for-deposit containers - countered by a flexible operating hours and manager's work schedule to not exceed in expenses what the facility collects in revenues
Assuming a facility can be located/obtained for a small cost - with the NRRM's donation this has been mitigated
Transportation (from camps to town, or from facility to Return-It Depot) - work to form a partnership with a local transportation provider for in-kind contributions of trucking.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Divert 1,200 cubic meters of for-deposit recyclable containers from the Northern Rockies Landfill.
Return $12,000 to individuals and community groups.
Form a partnership with an additional oil and gas industry stakeholder.
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Divert 3,000 cubic meters of for-deposit recyclable containers from the Northern Rockies Landfill.
Determine feasibility of accepting additional materials for waste diversion (cardboard, tin cans, plastics)
Achieve organizational financial independence (from grants alone).
Tell us about your partnerships
The Sorting Facility has partnered with the Local Government for the provision of land, a building, servicing, and the necessary insurance - all parts of the operations that would have otherwise consumed a large portion of available funding. Additional partnerships have been forged with two natural gas producers - EnCana and Quicksilver Resources for the regular supply of for-deposit recyclables. We're working actively with Employment Services to ensure that casual and barriered workers know of the Facility, and have networked with community orgs wishing to fundraise by sorting.
Are you currently targeting other specific populations, locations, or markets for your solution? If so, where and why?
What type of operating environment and internal organizational factors make your innovation successful?
The operating environment is fairly simple in that the work undertaken (receiving, sorting, and returning containers) is not so specialized that it requires extensive training or education. Entry to the work environment is open and inclusive, while the overall purpose (diversion of waste from the landfill) is a commonly accepted benefit to most community members. Providing a convenient and accessible opportunity for industry to be good corporate citizens, by both diverting waste and in turn providing funds to service organizations and individuals needing an income is not something they can turn down. Finally, the dedication of the Social Planning Council and their Board (in forming the Facility and its Board) shows the personal investment in this project.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list
|43 weeks ago April Dutheil said: Hi Jaylene, Thank you for submitting your application to BC Ideas. During the week of August 20th we're having an online discussion on ... about this Competition Entry. - read more >|
|49 weeks ago Jaylene Arnold updated this Competition Entry.|
|49 weeks ago Jaylene Arnold updated this Competition Entry.|
|51 weeks ago Jaylene Arnold updated this Competition Entry.|
|51 weeks ago Jaylene Arnold submitted this idea.|