The Power of Sorting: Combating Construction Waste in Landfills
April 26, 2017
Sea to Sky Removal is a construction waste removal company run by husband and wife, Cinci Csere and Chris Arkell. Based in Squamish, 90% of their customer base is in Vancouver and the lower mainland, though they also offer waste removal all along the Sea to Sky Corridor. Operating solely in the construction and commercial industries, Cinci and Chris are trailblazers in sustainable waste removal. Construction and development is a huge growth industry in Vancouver; in fact, the value of proposed construction projects in BC is a staggering 329 billion dollars! The value of construction through issued building permits in Vancouver for 2016 alone was 2.82 billion dollars. With so much construction and demolition occurring within the city, much of this waste produced is recyclable or reusable. However, it more often than not ends up in landfills due to the pace of construction.
“Material from the construction, demolition and renovation of buildings makes up one third of our region’s waste. This is 1.5 million tonnes each year, of which 75% is currently recycled. Of the remaining portion that ends up in the garbage, more than half of it could have been reused or recycled.” – Metro Vancouver
By live-loading and hand-sorting waste from their customers directly onto their trucks and eliminating the use of “dump-all” bins, Sea to Sky is able to deconstruct client waste into its recyclable and reusable components before ending up with a much smaller portion to take to the landfill. They also work with organizations such as Habitat For Humanity’s ReStores to bring salvaged material back into the circular economy, and effectively remove it from the waste stream.
Discovering a need that had yet to be met in the local construction sector, Cinci and Chris combined their passion for sustainable waste solutions with a viable service to create a flourishing business model.
Chris approximates their diversion rate from landfills to be 65-70% at the moment. As their business picks up speed and knowledge and they hone their practices, their diversion rate is increasing.
It is hard and dirty work, however Cinci and Chris are happy to take the waste (and the headache) away from clients, leaving clients comforted with the knowledge that their waste is truly going to the right places.
An important aspect of the Sea to Sky service to customers is their photo documentation of waste removal and tracking. They provide clients with a complete photo report of how each material is sorted and where it all goes, whether it be a donation centre, recycling centre, or landfill. In doing this, Sea to Sky is not only providing a singular service, but also a tool their customers can use to showcase their own sustainability initiatives to clients and stakeholders.
With no other company in the lower mainland offering live loading to the construction industry, Chris and Cinci are doing their part in helping other businesses become more sustainable. They hope to see the trend expand outwards into the rest of the industry.
Since the 2015 disposal ban on clean wood at area landfills, policies are being developed to ban more recyclable and reusable materials from landfill. In addressing recycling measures before more disposal bans are in place, Sea to Sky Removal can help companies dispose of their waste and educate them to implement changes and stay ahead of the curve before regulations are passed.