A local waste removal company is proving the old adage that one man's waste is another man's treasure after winning big at this year's BC Small Business Awards. Sea to Sky Removal took home the hardware for Best Concept at the 15th annual awards, held in Vancouver on Feb. 24. Based in Squamish and operating throughout the Sea to Sky and Lower Mainland, the company works with construction firms to recycle construction waste and divert materials from the landfill, sorting through waste by hand, a process called "live loading." They are the first company in the region to install recycling stations on construction sites.
"I think (this award) really brings awareness to how construction waste is disposed and how we're the only waste removal company that's actually implemented any sort of change on construction sites," said Cinci Csere, who co-founded the company with her husband, Chris Arkell. "We're really excited to raise that conversation."
The driving force behind the company is to educate the construction industry on proper waste disposal practices, even offering tutorials to workers onsite. In a sector that's been accustomed to tossing each piece of construction waste, including wood, plastic, and stone, into a single garbage bin, it's a Herculean task, but important headway is already being made.
"(The industry) is really jumping on the bandwagon," Csere said. "They don't have the tools and they don't have the time, and we have created the tools for them to use, which are really easy."
The next focus for the company is what Csere called "hard-to-recycle" plastics, such as bubble wrap, plastic banding, and expanded polystyrene, a packaging foam commonly used on construction sites. Because the materials cannot be recycled in the Sea to Sky, the company trucks it to Waste Control Services in North Vancouver. Last year, Sea to Sky Removal helped recycle 3,360 pounds (1,524 kg) of these plastics.
Sea to Sky Removal was the only local company to be awarded at the BC Small Business Awards. Charity Zero Ceiling and Rising Knead Bakery, both based in Whistler, were among the top finalists in their respective categories.