Location: Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
Certification level: Silver
Per cent of overall diversion achieved: 93 per cent
Facility Size: 125,000 sq ft
Type of Operation: Manufacturing
Certification date: 2018
Canadian-owned Riverside Natural Foods creates healthy, allergy-friendly snacks, including the popular MadeGood brand. From research through to manufacture and marketing, the brand has earned a reputation for creating industry-leading and innovative food products by fostering continuous innovation and creativity in healthy snacking.
That approach also carries over to the company’s commitment to sustainability. Through all levels for manufacturing, the environment is top of mind, so choosing to pursue the TRUE certification was a natural fit.
The TRUE Zero Waste certification system enables facilities to define, pursue and achieve their zero waste goals, cutting their carbon footprint and supporting public health. As a whole-systems approach, TRUE changes how materials flow through processes, and encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.
Riverside had been recycling for several years and was looking for a way to improve their program and further reduce their waste and carbon footprint. The company’s core values include sustainability and leadership—so ensuring the needs of its people and the health of the planet are factored into decisions takes priority. In this way, sustainability is valued as much as profit in terms of the company’s success.
Achieving TRUE certification requires rethinking the lifecycle of products coming in, and waste leaving, a facility. To meet the stringent requirements of the standard, Riverside Natural Foods integrated many zero waste strategies and policies. But first, they performed an extensive waste assessment to more fully understand the amount of waste the company was sending to landfill.
The insights from this assessment helped to shape its robust recycling program and enabled the company to set meaning goals that would help reduce its overall impact. This included committing to continuous improvements year-after-year, encouraging suppliers and partners to embrace zero-waste principles, and further, educating its own employees at all levels for the organization.
Securing that support from all employees was one of the biggest hurdles. Learning to embrace implemented zero waste principles meant ensuring all employees understood the amount of waste going to landfill prior to the project starting as well as how better practices were moving the company towards its goals. By showing employees where materials could go instead of to a landfill was an eye opener for many, and ensured everyone understood how most materials can be repurposed or reused.
As a result of embarking on the TRUE program, Riverside has created a ripple effect. Not only have they reduced the amount of waste going to landfills from their own operations, but also from those of their suppliers and partners. Even at the employee level, Riverside has seen a change, with employees taking home zero-waste principles. For the team, there is significant satisfaction in knowing that Riverside can do its part to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.
Achieving TRUE Silver certification was a company-wide effort. Attaining the certification encouraged the company to think carefully about its business and production decisions and how they impact the waste stream. As a result, all Riverside Natural Foods employees have been steadfast in their commitment to properly handle facility waste, contributing to the company’s ongoing success.
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