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.

Surprising Things You Can Recycle at London Drugs

It’s 2018, and recycling is now, for most of us, an essential part of everyday life. Unfortunately, though, curbside recycling can be quite limited in Canada, and city programs may not accept all recyclable items. This is where London Drugs comes in! The list below includes just seven of the surprising things we recycle at London Drugs. We challenge you: sort through your drawers and cupboards and see how many of these seven unique items you can collect and bring in to us—to keep them from the landfill.

  • Styrofoam – London Drugs is Canada’s only major retailer to offer packaging return and recycling on anything they sell. Seriously. Anything! The Bring Back the Pack program includes Styrofoam (from items bought at London Drugs), which is not accepted as part of most municipal recycling programs.
  • Smoke Alarms – Smashed your alarm one too many times while burning the bacon? Bring it in and we’ll recycle it.
  • Non-Rechargeable (and Rechargeable) Batteries – Alkaline batteries are recyclable too. We have them sent to Inmetco in Pennsylvania, USA, where they use a High Temperature Metals Recovery Process (HTMR) to obtain an overall material recovery rate of 83%. Metals recovered include Iron, Nickel, Manganese, Copper, and Zinc. Ni-CAD, Ni-MH and Ni-Zn. Rechargeable batteries are also processed at Inmetco.
  • Plastic Insurance Folders – Don’t leave expired documents in your car! Shred your old insurance papers and bring the plastic to us. London Drugs also accepts all soft plastic bags (except biodegradable bags).
  • Fluorescent Light Bulbs – Bring in your Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) Bulbs and Fluorescent Light (FL) Tubes up to 4-foot lengths to London Drugs for safe, responsible recycling. Simply wrap old bulbs carefully in a plastic bag or a box and drop them off at our Customer Service Counter.
  • Waffle Makers (And Other Small Appliances) – Need a new small appliance? Bring in your old one at the same time. Any dead small appliance with a plug can be recycled at London Drugs through the Small Appliance recycling program. All electronic products are responsibly disassembled to basic materials right here in Canada. London Drugs works diligently to ensure that recyclables are shipped to responsible recycling facilities.
  • VHS Tapes – London Drugs offers customers drop-off recycling for virtually all recordable media or media storage devices when customers are making similar purchases in our stores. (Maximum 16 items at a time, please)

You can help make a big difference. For more information on London Drugs’ green initiatives, visit greendeal.ca where—along with more info about our recycling program—you can learn about the green products we sell, saving energy in your home, sustainability education events, and more!

A Beginners Guide to Canning and Preserving

Fall is here! But don’t worry, it’s not all rain and cold weather. Fall is a beautiful season of bounty, and you can make the most of that bounty by taking up your new favourite hobby: canning. That beautiful jam you like? You can make it. Dill pickles? You can make those too. Those cans of tomatoes you buy every other week? Yep, you got it! All you need is a bit of equipment and a bit of know-how. London Drugs has got you covered on both counts.

Woman In Kitchen Listing Ingredients In Vegetable Preserves

Canning is really just a way of preserving food. Water bath canning is the easiest way to start: you fill glass jars with the stuff you want to preserve (jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) and boil them in hot water. This kills any bacteria present, removes air from the jar, and seals it to prevent any more bacteria from getting in. Water bath canning only works for high-acid foods like fruit, tomatoes, and pickled things.

If you want to get really fancy and preserve your perfect pumpkin pie filling, you’ll need to upgrade to a pressure canner. But the basic process is to sterilize your jars in boiling water, make your preserves, put those preserves in the jars, put on the lids, and throw them back in boiling water. Easy peasy, right?

So where do you begin? First, you need some equipment:

  • Large stockpot, deep enough to completely cover your jars
  • Canning jars
  • Canning lids (these will come with jars if you buy a new set!)
  • Jar lifter
  • Lid lifter
  • Funnel

We’ve got a complete canning kit that includes the jar lifter, lid lifter, and funnel, as well as 250ml jars, 500ml jars, and even 1L jars for things like pickles and whole tomatoes. If you’re making jam or jelly, you’ll also need pectin.

Once you’ve acquired the equipment, you need to decide what you want to can! In early fall we still have stone fruit like peaches and plums, and lots of tomatoes. Later in the season, root vegetables like carrots and beets can make some excellent pickles. And apples, of course!

Pickled cucumbers, homemade preserved on wooden table

If you’ve got a well stocked grocery store that brings in produce from further afield, you can can small batches with basically any type of fruit. We’ve got recipes for strawberry balsamic jam and sour cherry jelly on the blog from earlier this summer. (What’s the difference between jam and jelly, you ask? Jam is made from crushed fruit while jelly is made from fruit juice! The more you know.)

Next, as a beginner, follow a recipe!

Canning isn’t difficult, but when mistakes are made they can range from something minor like a jam that doesn’t set to something dangerous like food that is unsafe to eat. You may balk at the amount of sugar in some of these recipes, but it’s integral to getting the jelly or jam to set properly, and it helps prevent spoilage.

Boiling time will vary depending on what altitude you’re at. You also can’t reuse the flat part of the two part lid for canning jars; you can reuse the ring, but you need a new lid each time you can. And don’t forget to sterilize your jars before filling them with your preserves!

Bell pepper preserves - London Drugs Blog

There are a ton of great websites you can go to for more information and recipes, including the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Food in Jars, and Punk Domestics. Companies that make canning supplies like Bernardin and Ball are also fantastic resources.

Here are a few of our favourite fall recipes. Go ahead and get canning! You can can!

Why You Need to Recycle Your E-Waste (and how London Drugs can help!)

Earth Day 2017 may be over, but we at London Drugs know that thinking about and acting on behalf of our planet is a vitally important year-long activity. That’s why we accept so many forms of recyclables at our stores, including everything from small appliances and empty bottles to both standard and rechargeable batteries. We even accept styrofoam!

 

There is one type of waste that can be especially damaging to both the environment and to communities around the world: e-waste.

It deserves special attention because, too often, we don’t think of e-waste as being recyclable at all. Or we don’t realize that there are good and not-so-good ways to deal with it.

What is E-Waste?

The first important thing to know is that “e-waste” is not garbage, it’s actually a category of recyclables. The problem is, objects in this category aren’t always disposed of properly. In fact, the UN estimates that only about 14% of e-waste is currently being recycled around the globe.

The category of e-waste includes all electronic appliances, but one of the most hazardous sub-types is computers. This includes PCs, gaming consoles, monitors, televisions, tablets, smartphones, and all other handheld digital devices.

Collectively, items in this category have advanced components inside them, such as microchips and motherboards. Although many of us rarely see these components, it’s important to understand that they are often constructed out of hazardous materials like cadmium, lead, and chromium.

Thankfully, many of the companies that produce these products, including Apple, are working toward a future in which these hazardous materials either won’t be needed or can be entirely obtained from recycled e-waste. But we aren’t there yet.

It’s important for consumers to know about the damage to the environment these products can cause when they are disposed of improperly, and to take responsibility for making sure disposal is done right.

How Dangerous is E-Waste?

Improperly handled or mistakenly thrown out e-waste is currently causing serious damage to the environment worldwide. Over time the dangerous metals and chemicals in e-waste (including in plastic casings) break down in our landfills. From there, these pollutants can enter the soil, the air, and the water in the surrounding area.

Another threat posed by e-waste is to the labourers who handle the products. This is especially true for the vast quantities of e-waste that are frequently shipped to developing nations for processing. Too often, these recycling operations are poorly regulated, leaving workers unfairly exposed to physical harm, illness, and even death.

On top of that, the processes used to isolate the valuable parts of e-waste can be crude and may cause more environmental damage than simply throwing the e-waste into the trash. For example, burning copper wires at low temperatures to remove the plastic coating (a common practice at unregulated recycling operations) releases hazardous chemical compounds into the air.

This is why it is so important not only to recycle your e-waste but to ensure that it is being disposed of responsibly. This is needed for the sake of the planet and for the safety of the labourers involved in the process.

What Can We Do About E-Waste?

Good news! If you live in Western Canada, London Drugs accepts all forms of e-waste for proper recycling. Simply bring your tech recyclables into one of our stores and look for the recycling station.

If you don’t see the recycling kiosk in your local LD store, or aren’t sure quite where to find it, just ask one of our LD Experts or speak to someone at the customer service desk. For certain items, there may be daily limits we will inform you of, but we will always do our best to accommodate your recycling needs.

When you recycle your e-waste at London Drugs you can be sure it will be handled by fully-screened and certified companies and never shipped to substandard processing plants. Another benefit of recycling your e-waste at London Drugs is that we always make sure your personal data is properly deleted. In some cases, we may even offer your used electronics a second life by providing them to those in need.

Go the extra mile for the environment and participate in our computer packaging re-use system called Bring Back The Pack. We’re thrilled to have partnered with Certified Data to bring you this program that enables re-use of brand new computer packaging.

Don’t live near a London Drugs? Don’t worry.

There are other ways to safely dispose of e-waste in Canada. The first place to check is with your local recycling depot, but The Salvation Army also typically accepts e-waste.

And remember, whatever you do, the most important step you can take to avoid contributing to the e-waste problem is to never put your electronics into the garbage.

Have more questions about e-waste recycling? You can always ask an LD Expert in-store.

And we encourage you to learn more about our recycling program at GreenDeal.ca.

London Drugs Prince George Spring Clean Up

recycle at london drugs

Photo via weak_hope

Saturday, April 16, 2016
10:00am to 3:00pm
London Drugs #196 – 1600 15th Ave. Prince George

Kidseat Recyclers is excited to partner with London Drugs in Prince George to offer city and surrounding area residents the opportunity to recycle children’s car seats. Join us Saturday April 16th from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and help keep this massive amount of plastic and metal out of our landfills. For a small fee of $10, Kidseat Recyclers will transport seats to a recycling facility in Alberta, separate the metal from the plastic shells and recycle both. The metal goes to a metal recycling facility and the plastic shells will be re-chipped, baled and resold to be used for a number of different products (such as making plastic building materials). PLEASE NOTE…fabric MUST be removed from seats in order to be accepted.

The Tire Stewardship of BC is offering Prince George and area residents to recycle their old tires at the Spring Clean Up event. Old tires with or without rims can be dropped off during the event. Tires that are up to 39” can be dropped off free of charge.

RRROCA Community Cleanup a Huge Success

Over 4,500 pounds of electronics and other items diverted from the City of Calgary’s landfills

On September 20, 2014 the communities of Rocky Ridge and Royal Oak participated in a Community Cleanup sponsored by The City of Calgary and London Drugs.

The parking lot of London Drugs Royal Oak was turned into a recycling party with music playing, a Community Appreciation BBQ serving up hot dogs, and a steady stream of recyclers from the community dropping off items at the different charity and recycling stations.

Local charities, Neighborlink and Goods Trading Services together reusing a whole truck load of clothes, household goods, furniture and toys – all being donated to families in need. Habitat for Humanity also collected remnants from renovation projects for use in future construction.

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