March 18, 2013 Buddy Boyd Gibsons Recycling Depot Vancouver Canada “

bb1Listen to Program. March 18, 2013. Buddy Boyd and his partner Barb Hetherington spend every day of their lives trying to better their community and their environment. There aren’t many people who can say that they wake up in the morning with the one goal: to improve the world around them. And for that reason that Buddy and Barb were recognized with the Best Green Business Award from Small Business BC for the work they do through their small business Gibsons Recycling Depot.

Gibsons Recycling Depot is so much more than a privately-owned recycling facility on the Sunshine Coast – it‘s a small business with the big goal of making a difference by promoting sustainability, while also creating employment opportunities in the local community.

Owner Buddy Boyd’s passion for the environment stems from over four decades of entrepreneurial experience. As a teenager on the streets with little education or focus, he was selected for the Bank of Montreal Youth Project – a program geared toward helping youth build self-esteem and find their passion. “This one thing changed the course of my life,” says Buddy. “Each student was required to develop their own individual presentation on something that we cared deeply about. I formed a chapter of STOP (Society to Overcome Pollution).”

From Campus Clean-up Champion to a Record Store Owner to a Sawmill Operator

A few years later while attending Montreal’s Dawson College, Buddy formed the “Tidy Tim” group to help clean-up and promote recycling on campus. Subsequently, while working for a disposal company in the early 1980s he opened a record store called Breeze Records in Vancouver on Denman Street, which in 1985 became the “Official Supplier of Music” for the Rick Hanson Man in Motion Around the World Tour, and raised over $4,000 for spinal cord research through a benefit dance.

Around that same time, Buddy also started a portable sawmill business sawing trees on people’s properties so they could build homes using lumber products from their own land. As this business picked up, Buddy eventually sold the record store and used the profits to buy a new sawmill.

A Small Business with a Big Impact

Next on Buddy’s entrepreneurial journey came Gibsons. In 2001, he started a small disposal company called Gibsons Disposal Ltd. After developing a loyal customer base for two years, Buddy and his partner Barb Hetherington opened Gibsons Recycling Depot in 2003 – a privately-owned recycling operation that was one of the first Resource Recovery facilities in BC.

Now employing seventeen staff members, Gibsons Recycling Depot has had huge impact on the “water access only” community that it serves. The company diverts a significant amount of waste from landfills, and creates much needed employment opportunities in the area. Its well-established Zero Waste Reuse Store – Buddy and Barb’s “One-Stop-Drop” – also supplies reused items to local residents and non-profits.

What truly characterizes Gibsons Recycling Depot is its commitment to crafting and implementing innovative solutions to waste reduction. The company was the first in BC to deconstruct children’s car seats, and also started a comprehensive local glass recycling program as an Earth Day project. As a result, previously landfilled glass is now turned into an aggregate. Today, Gibsons Recycling Depot supplies its recycled glass product to landscapers, concrete companies, local artisans and glass blowers.

Sustainable, Through and Through

More than just diverting waste from landfills and incinerators, environmental sustainability is baked right into Gibsons Recycling Depot’s business process. “Our corporate position is wherever and whenever possible, we use recycled, up-cycled or re-purposed materials,” says Buddy.

The company’s open-air facility was designed for natural light, and uses only energy-efficient CFLs and LED lights where absolutely necessary. The facility itself is made up of repurposed shipping containers and recycled building materials. Gibsons Recycling Depot also launched the first curbside recycling service in North America that uses electric vehicles. This spring, the company will add a large array of solar panels to help offset the cost of operating its fleet of electric vehicles.

A Model for Others

The Gibsons Recycling Depot site receives delegations that include elected officials (both from Canada and abroad) and conducts other site visits. Over the past year the company also collaborated with a local sustainability company called Greenomics to form a unique consulting group to help other communities with their recycling efforts, including a community in Africa.

Gibsons Recycling Depot was recognized as the Best Green Business at the 10th Annual Successful You Awards on February 28, 2013. Buddy and Barb believe that the award is a great opportunity to raise the profile of their work as environmentalists and showcase the solutions the business provides as a Zero Waste advocate.

But the recognition is secondary. “Awards and accolades are meaningless if we aren’t actually doing something – making a difference,” says Buddy. “We are proactive and encourage everyone to do the same. Rather than follow, we choose to lead.”

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