Sugar Sheet: Paper that Saves Trees

Imagine a world in which trees are not cut down to make paper. That’s the ambitious vision for Social Print Paper, a New Westminster, B.C.-based paper supplier whose goal is to minimize the dependency on global forests for single-use products like paper.

Consider the statistics:

3 million trees are cut down every day in North America

only 15-20% of the Earth’s original forests remain

Social Print Paper has found a way to improve those statistics. It’s been making high-quality, cost-efficient paper out of sugar cane waste by-products, and the results are virtually indiscernible.

“Our commitment is to make an environmentally friendly product that looks and feels the same as regular paper, and that is cost competitive,” says founding partner Minto Roy. “For most green products now, you pay more and sacrifice quality, and we saw no real appetite for that. If we’re going to cause positive change, we knew we had to make it easy for consumers, and make sure they didn’t have to sacrifice quality and price.”

The Birth of Sugar Sheet

Social Print Paper was started by Lee Gieschen, president of Royal Printers, and Minto Roy, a serial entrepreneur with a background in publishing, recruiting, and coaching. After selling his successful start-up publication to the Toronto Star, Roy had a life-changing realization:

“I thought, ‘we’ve been given these talents and skills; what a waste it would be if all we do with them is chase money! What can we do to cause positive change?”

So Roy and Gieschen partnered up to see if they could positively disrupt the paper industry. “We discovered high-quality paper could be made with 100 percent agriculture fiber waste,” Roy says.

They started with wheat waste-based paper, then moved on to sugar cane. “After sugar cane has been harvested and the juice extracted, we take the residual waste by-product called bagasse to make paper. And it is truly indiscernible from traditional paper used by most consumers today.”

The paper is produced in South America, in an ISO-certified production plant that maintains the highest standards of production, labour, and environmental best practices. “We’ve gone to immense lengths so if anyone asks a questions related to paper quality, performance, or environmental benefits, we can answer with facts.”

And as it turns out, Sugar Sheet is actually cheaper than many copy papers available, and is comparable in quality to traditional paper. You’d never know it’s not made from trees!

A Sweet Disruption

Interest has been growing in Sugar Sheet since the company launched in 2011, and requests for speaking engagements and industry education have also been pouring in.

“We’re making sure that we speak about sustainability in a new narrative,” Roy says. “It has always been communicated with guilt or social obligation. So we asked ourselves ‘how do we leverage sustainability in a new communication framework that includes shrewd business advantage. Because getting interest from people is easy, but urgency is what we want to convey.”

Urgency is something we’ve heard a lot about in the media lately, since the release of a recent UN Report on the increasing pace — and consequences — of climate change. And Sugar Sheet is doing something about it.

“We regularly engage with provincial and federal climate committees on how to elevate sustainability and leverage it to drive core business functions,” Roy says, adding that Sugar Sheet is “supporting HR initiatives, and helping marketing, compliance, and operations” in companies where leveraging sustainability programs can really boost business advantage. “We can also provide eco savings reports to our clients,” Roy adds. “They can get a report on how much carbon dioxide they’ve reduced and incorporate it into their carbon reporting, effectively reducing their carbon tax payable to the province.”

Who’s Using Sugar Sheet?Sugar Sheet saves trees

Many companies and individuals have already hopped on the Sugar Sheet train, including the University of British Columbia, the David Suzuki Foundation, the Canadian federal government, and London Drugs, of course.

“The company has grown 100% per year in terms of volume,” Roy says. “But we have a lot of work to do. We don’t want to be niche, we want to be a major player. We have incredible partners and support from education sector leaders, government leaders, and retail leaders. We’ve already expanded our product line beyond copy paper to paper in different weights and sizes; every paper required by an organization. We’re expanding into the North American market, and then we’ll hit the global market,” he adds. “It’s no problem in this world to get ideological agreement on doing the right thing. We want execution of the ideology.”

At London Drugs, we’re proud to support this local company creating global change. You can find Sugar Sheet copy paper in store and online.

Why We Recycle These 5 Things (and More)

You can recycle a lot of things at London Drugs, from batteries to small appliances to smoke alarms. But just in case you sometimes ask yourself WHY you bother recycling, here’s a look at five things we take back that really should never be thrown away and the most important reasons for that.


Why you should recycle them: data security

It’s tempting when cleaning out the closets to just chuck that old doorstop of a computer into the alley or dumpster. (Maybe SOMEBODY will want it?) Well, somebody might — and they may have less than noble plans for your data. It’s very hard to completely erase digital memory, so data-carrying devices may have personal information on them that can be retrieved.

That’s why London Drugs’ computer recycling takes extreme care to track data-carrying devices and destroy the hard drives before they leave our stores. Our recycling partners also have security measures and ALL of our electronics are broken down into materials here in Canada before being shipped anywhere else. Got an old computer, PDA, or cellphone? Recycle them with us.


Why you should recycle them: chemical recovery

Besides stored electrons, batteries also contain complex compounds that can be harmful to the environment. Fortunately, many of these materials are also valuable enough to recover for use in remanufacturing.

Lithium, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, and zinc are some of the elements that are recovered from battery recycling. These are not good to have in our landfills or waterways. So drop your batteries off at London Drugs (here’s what will happen to them). We take rechargeables, alkalines, button batteries, and specialty electronics batteries (under 5 lbs).

Light Bulbs

Why you should recycle them: Mercury

According to one study, one gram of mercury can contaminate a 20-acre lake.

Many fluorescent-type light bulbs contain traces of mercury, so it’s a good idea to keep them out of our ecosystems. We take compact fluorescents (CLFs), LEDs, even Christmas lights and fluorescent tubes up to 48”. Just be sure to avoid bulb breakage while recycling. Seal the bulbs in a zip bag and put them in a box.

Soft Plastic Bags and Overwrap

Why you should recycle them: To help keep our rivers and oceans clean

If you can stretch soft plastic or poke your finger through it, you can recycle it at any London Drugs. Plastic bags, overwrap, and stretch film are accepted at all of our stores. This plastic is also easily blown out of garbage containers, trucks, and even landfills, which means it may end up in rivers or oceans. The soft kind of plastic is very recyclable and is made into things like park benches and plastic deck lumber. (Crinklies and other flexible packaging are recyclable at our BC stores.)


Why you should recycle it: To use up less landfill space and avoid plastic ‘crumbs’ in the environment

Styrofoam, or ‘Expanded Polystyrene’, is actually a very recyclable material. Our recycler partners take the air out of it, condensing the foam down until it is virtually solid plastic. Then it is sold on commodities markets to be remanufactured into picture frames, mouldings, and more.

The list goes on and on. See everything you can (and should) recycle at London Drugs. Do the right thing (it feels good!)

Home Recycling Zone Makeover

How to make your recycling area cleaner, greener, and more beautiful!

Recycling things right is a lot easier if your home recycling zone is organized and looking fresh. Here are some ideas (and products) to help you turn your recycling corner from dumping pile to decorator drop zone!

List Your Local Recycling Streams

Regional recycling regulations vary, so look online for the latest on curbside pickup streams for your municipality. This will help you decide how many bins you will need and what sort of space you’ll require. Here are a few links to some of the major municipalities:Check out your regional recycling regulations

Choose a Bin System

A set of stackable containers or matching baskets can help your recycling zone feel like a more designed part of your home.

Stackable containers or matching baskets can help your recycling zone feel like a more designed part of your home

Small – For Apartments & Condos: If all you have is the corner of a closet, the Sterilite Weave 3 Drawer Tower is a tidy solution. Combine with a 6L Good Natured Kitchen Compost Collector.

Recycling solutions for small family living

Medium – Perfect for Small Family Living: Sterilite Stacking Drawers are a great modular system that can stack vertically or side by side. Each has a 26L capacity to hold lots of recyclables. Combine with a 7.1L Sureclose Foodscrap Container.

Recycling solutions for Bigger Homes and Extended Families

Large – For Bigger Homes and Extended Families: If you have dedicated recycling space in a mud room or garage, consider a set of 39L Tall Recyclers by Good Natured. (They are even made from 90% plant-based materials and no nasty chemicals!) Line with a plastic bag for easy emptying. For compost and food scraps, up-size with the Good Natured 8L Tall Compost Collector.

Beautiful recycling zone home solutions

Decorator – Recycle with Style: If your recycling zone is part of your living area, create a clean, neutral-tone statement with NeatFreak storage bins in a NeatFreak Stackable Shelf. Even your compost can dress up with a London Drugs brand compost bin in grey bamboo or stainless steel finish.

Have Fun with LabelsCreate custom labels for your recycling bins

Using your local recycling stream list as a guide, create some custom labels that match your bins. Create and print them on sticker stock from your computer, or make it a family art project. Your recycling, your look!

Set up an Area for Special Recycling

There are a lot of things you can recycle beyond what gets picked up at the curb. Your local London Drugs takes batteries, electronics, small appliances, soft plastics, Styrofoam and more. A Good Natured Curbside Recycler Bin makes it easy to grab on your way out the door.

Set up an area for special recycling

Have a Grand Opening!

Share your new recycling zone with your family or roommates to make sure everyone knows what goes where. Because now your recycling zone ROCKS!! And that’s the REAL Green Deal!

Share your new recycling zone with your family or roommates to make sure everyone knows what goes where

2018 Holiday Gift Guide: Last-Minute Green Gifts

If you have left a few holiday gifts until the last minute, and you have a green stocking to stuff, take heart. Here is a quick list of sustainable products that are quick to pick up at your local London Drugs.

For the Beauties

Eco Tools Beauty SetPhysician's Formula Glamour Set

Eco-Tools Beauty Kits – With brush handles made from sustainable bamboo, packaging made from tree-free paper and a recyclable and reusable storage tin, the Warm Winter Glow Beauty Kit is a great gift for the sustainable fashionista.

Physicians Formula Non-Toxic Glamour Set  – Featuring Organic Wear® 100% Natural Origin Makeup, 80% Organic Tinted Moisturizer and 70% Organic Mascara that is 100% free of harsh chemicals, parabens, synthetic preservatives, GMOs and synthetic fragrances. It’s also cruelty-free.Burt's Bees

Burt’s Bees – A great green company. Even though they are owned by Clorox, this brand continues to impress with innovative natural products, low-waste packaging (check out their lipstick!) and a zero waste manufacturing facility. Choose from lip balms, gift sets, and even pet products.

For the Hipsters

Marathon Mechanical ClockCaprina Goat's Milk Soap

Marathon Mechanical Clock – The ultimate analog gift for your hipster friends. 100% human-powered (wind-up) and grid-failure resistant. And it’s got a loud alarm. When it goes off, you WILL wake up. Comes in low-tech black or classic white.

Caprina Goat’s Milk Soap – These soaps are made with traditional saponification to gently cleanse skin. Produced from the milk of eccentric goats from a Canadian family-owned company in Ville St-Laurent Quebec.

For the Green Thumbs

Gardians of the Galaxy Chia Pet

Guardians of the Galaxy Chia Pet – OK, any Chia Pet is green, but the one that looks like Groot is, well… GROOT! Cardboard box, pottery head, seeds, and fun. All sustainable, recyclable, and green. (There is one piece of plastic in the box, but you can Bring Back the Pack so that’s recycled, too). Pick up in-store.

For the Chocolate Lovers

Pacari Chocolate

Green & Black’s – A Green Deal holiday classic. Organic, fair trade, and available in a range of delicious varieties.

Pacari – This premium brand promises ‘organic chocolate from tree to bar’. USDA Organic, Vegan, Beyond Fair Trade, and B-Corp Certified.

Zazubean ChocolateTheobroma Chocolate

Zazubean – Certified Fair Trade, USDA Organic, not to mention vegan and Kosher. Also some of the best chocolate names in the business. (Nutbar, anyone?)

Theobroma – Certified organic, Fair Trade and Gluten-Free, by Quebec Chocolatier Vigneault. Nice stocking-stuffer stick size.Green Magazines

For the Magazine Lovers

The holidays are a great time to curl up with some sustainable reading, from healing herbs to vegan foods to solar heating plans.

And they’re all recyclable (or burnable in a wood stove for heat).

Visit the magazine section at your local London Drugs and browse for your special green someone.

Fill out the subscription card for a gift that gives all year long. Pick up in-store.


For the Coffee and Tea Drinkers

Ethical Bean CoffeeSalt Spring Coffee

Ethical Bean Coffee – Roasted in Vancouver; you can actually scan the code on each bag to see details on the origin and roast. Certified organic and fair trade.

Salt Spring Coffee – Organic and Fair Trade; they also support coffee farmers and communities with their Fair to Farmer Fund.

Commercial Drive CoffeeKicking Horse Coffee

Commercial Drive Coffee – Here’s a local roast with a genuine East Van Vibe for the true hipster on your list. Certified Carbon Friendly and USDA Organic.

Kicking Horse Coffee – Roasted in the Kootenays for extra mountain flavour, this organic & Fair Trade blend is also available in a decorator tin just in time for the holidays.

Traditional Medicinals Teas

Traditional Medicinals Organic Teas – A great gift for the long, cold winter season. Certified Canada Organic and available in a variety of flavours.

For the Water Bottle Toters

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

London Drugs Stainless Steel Double-Wall Water Bottle – Keeps drinks hot or cold for hours. Durable, stylish, and ultimately recyclable.

For the Yogis

PurEarth Eco Yoga Mat

PurEarth Eco Yoga Mat – Non Toxic, Latex, PVC, and Chloride Free. Named one of Outside Magazine’s 12 Best Yoga Mats.

For Everyone

Energizer Rechargeable Batteries

Energizer Rechargeable Batteries and Charger – This is a green gift we recommend every year, because it keeps on giving. In fact, not only can you save money in the long run, you’ll also cut your battery waste by up to 75%

Wrap it All Up Sustainably

Seagrass BasketAdwood Pinecrate

London Drugs Seagrass Basket – It’s the gift box you can reuse all year long. Handmade from 100% natural materials. Comes in several sizes.

Adwood Pine Crate – Made from sustainably managed forests in BC, these crates look naturally good the way they are, and are also perfect for painting and decorating.

Be sure to let your giftees know that they can BRING BACK the PACK (including Styrofoam) from any London Drugs gifts, recycle old electronics and small appliances when they get new ones, and recycle beyond the Blue Box at their local store all year long.

Want a Greener Christmas? Try these Tips for Reducing and Recycling Holiday Waste

The holidays are a magical time, but they can also be a time of great waste; piles of wrapping paper, product packaging, old products, and electronics all end up in landfills around this time of year. We talked to two of our London Drugs experts on holiday waste reduction and recycling to share some strategies on how to keep the season green

What can people keep in mind while they’re shopping to avoid unnecessary holiday waste?

Chris Odgaard, London Drugs Store Manager at Sunnycrest Mall, Gibsons, BC: “Consider the whole life-cycle of the product you’re buying. How long will it last? What will happen to it once it’s no longer needed, wanted, or useful? Can it be reused, repurposed, repaired, or recycled? Also think about gifting services or experiences instead of things.”

Lorne Craig, What’s the Green Deal Manager: “Organize your shopping so that you don’t have to make as many trips, and shop at stores where you can pick up everything you need, all in the one place. Shopping locally is also a green solution. Buying online might seem super-convenient, but depending on your location (and whether you are home to receive the delivery) it can create more emissions and packaging waste than shopping in store. Plus, if you walk, bike, carpool, or take transit to the store, you can help make an even bigger reduction. Oh, and remember to bring your reusable shopping bags, of course!”

How can shopping at London Drugs for the holidays help keep waste out of landfills?

Chris Odgaard: “London Drugs is always working to be a green leader in sustainable business practices. We offer a ‘buy online, pick up in store service’, which means that many hundreds of items are shipped to a store on a single truck, reducing transportation waste. And if you’re shopping for service gifts, London Drugs offers a variety of services such as computer servicing and repair, audio-video home services and setup, and digital photo scanning, which can all be purchased with a London Drugs gift card.

“Many of the products you purchase at London Drugs can be recycled there, including electronics, small appliances, and batteries. With our ‘Bring Back the Pack‘ program, you can return all the unwanted packaging to the store to be responsibly recycled. If you’ve received new electronics or small appliances to replace the old ones, you can bring them back along with the new packaging and get rid of everything at once in a responsible way!”

Do you have any other green tips for holiday shoppers?

Lorne Craig: “If you’re really stuck for a gift idea, think about giving a gift card that will allow the person to choose something that they actually want or need. Also, remember to buy from companies that are doing business better. London Drugs’ ‘What’s the Green Deal?’ blog has product information that highlights companies that are reducing waste, reducing emissions, using organic ingredients, and practicing fair trade.”


Thanks to our experts for the great advice! If you’re looking for more tips on how to reduce your waste around the holidays, or any other time of year, explore our Green Deal page. Happy gifting!


First-ever Halloween Candy Wrapper Return Drive at London Drugs in BC

Bring Your Halloween Candy Wrappers Back to London Drugs

Bring back your Halloween candy wrappers and snack packaging to any London Drugs store in BC! 

London Drugs is delighted to to announce the first-ever Halloween candy wrapper return drive in BC to help keep seasonal snack packaging waste out of the city’s landfills.

Customers can bring their chocolate bar and Halloween candy wrappers as well as potato chip bags and other flexible plastic packaging to any London Drugs location. The items collected will be sent to Merlin Plastics, a post-consumer processing company in Delta, BC, and used for research and development as the company works to develop a commercially viable process for repurposing these common but tough-to-process items.

Halloween candy wrappers that cannot be recycled will be used to produce engineered fuel for commercial operations such as concrete plants.

“We want to help British Columbians celebrate Halloween with a bit less waste by making one simple suggestion: instead of throwing out your candy wrappers and chip bags, bring them to London Drugs.”

~ Maury McCausland, Retail Operations Sustainability Specialist, London Drugs

Other Flexible Plastic Packaging Initiative

Bring flexible plastics, like Halloween candy wrappers, to any BC London Drugs

London Drugs’ Other Flexible Plastic Packaging initiative is part of RecycleBC’s new take-back program. These types of plastics, including Halloween candy wrappers, are among the fastest-growing forms of packaging on the market and one of the largest categories of packaging, particularly for confectionery and snack foods.

According to Stats Canada, over $550 million worth of cookies, confectionery, and snack foods were sold across Canada last October, contributing significant amounts of packaging waste to landfills and the environment. Food wrappers are also a common source of marine litter and were among the top five items found in the Ocean Conservatory’s International Coastal Clean-up last year.

“This is really a big problem; the volume of wrapper waste is significant,” says McCausland. “That’s why we’re making a commitment to help address it – not just at Halloween but year-round.” 

Plastics You Can Bring Back

London Drugs accepts all sorts of items in the Other Flexible Plastic Packaging category including:Flexible plastics return to London Drugs in BC

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

See the complete list of accepted other flexible plastic packaging.

“Last year, with the help of our customers and staff, our stores celebrated a 93% waste diversion rate. This program will help get us one step closer to zero waste,” says McCausland.

How to ‘Green’ Your Photos This Earth Month

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle… Re-live.

This April, do more for Mother Earth than just turning off the lights. Earth Month is a great opportunity to start making greener choices that will last a lifetime. Display your wedding or vacation photos on sustainable surfaces, and they will survive years to come, look great, and give you peace of mind that you’re helping the planet.

Don’t forget about recycling your old photos, either. Diverting those from your trash will make you feel like a sustainability superstar!

Bamboo Prints

Being environmentally friendly never looked so good. Our bamboo prints are made with 90% bamboo, a highly renewable resource, making it a great option for ‘greening’ your photos. The fibrous texture of the bamboo gives your images an incredibly unique look, with vivid shades, a crisp matte finish and maximized resistance to aging. The next time you’re choosing a print surface, try this durable, nature-approved solution guaranteed to stand the test of time.

Recycling Your Old Photos

Digitally saving and restoring your photos is without a doubt the best way to ensure memory preservation. As technology grows and changes, converting to digital can free up space in an attic of old shoe boxes, and reduce the risk of harsh damage due to temperature, humidity and dust. But what do you do with your hard copies after your holiday, honeymoon, or first day of school is saved to a disk or USB? As long as they’re digitally printed copies, you can likely recycle your old photos with the rest of your mixed paper recycling.

Not sure if your photos are of the digital print variety? Do a simple tear test! By tearing a corner of your photograph you’ll notice that it either tears clean, or in layers. Consider a clean tear a green light to recycle the photo.

If you also have old metal film canisters kicking around, those can be recycled too. In addition to your small appliances, batteries, laser cartridges and old photos, we will accept metal film canisters through our What’s the Green Deal? Program.

Let us at London Drugs help you reduce your memory footprint!

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