Northern businesses hoping to make their operations more environmentally-friendly have resources at their disposal and the federal government is helping one made-in-the-north initiative make it easier and cost effective.
Members of reThink Green gathered at Morin Industrial, a company working with the group, to celebrate an investment by the federal government to help northern business achieve their greener business goals.
Paul Lefebvre, MP for Sudbury, made a funding announcement on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Science, Innovation and Economic Development by FedNor of $119,255 to reThink Green to fund Green Economy North, an initiative to help businesses reduce their waste output and carbon footprint.
Brittany Morin, health, safety and environment manager at Morin Industrial, explained the mandate of the company, which re-purposes and sandblasts old equipment for reuse has been reducing their waste output for years, but partnered with reThink Green and joined Green Economy North because they share a goal and the partnership gives them more resources to achieve that goal.
“We want to leave our business for future generations and we want to reduce our carbon footprint,” she said. “They can provide us the necessary funding so we can afford to make those changes, which can be expensive.”
She added they also connect them to networks and events to see what other companies are doing to reduce their waste.
She said Morin Industrial's business model has helped to eliminate 150 tons of waste monthly that would've gone to landfills, or into the environment around the shop in Lively. One of the biggest changes they made was to their sandblasting, which she explained now uses recyclable materials that doesn't get blown away. It is collected through a vacuum system and reused.
She added that they will be switching all lights in the shop to more energy-efficient LED lighting by the end of the year.
According to Richard Eberhardt, program director reThink Green, much of its mandate is in helping find small changes businesses can make to help them become more energy-efficient, and in the long run, save money and time, then help build on those achievements.
“Our job is really to help these organizations identify ways they can bring energy efficiency into their own day-to-day business practices,” he said. “Some of those ways include capital investment, others are behavioural. Just ways they run their day-to-day operations can be made more efficient just by taking a close look at what they do, and finding ways that are less efficient than they need to be.”
Rebecca, Danard, executive director of reThink Green, said Morin Industrial is one of the newer partners of the Green Economy North. She said initiatives like Green Economy North are a valuable resource for industrial businesses in the north to help them reduce electrical consumption and greenhouse gasses.
“There's a lot of opportunity in the north for retrofitting,” she said. “Adding better lighting, replacing heating or insulation systems that are outdated. The good part is there is a lot of government incentives that we can help other businesses connect to that will decrease some of those capital costs and have a good return on investment in the long run.”
Lefebvre said a strong economy and clean environment go hand-in-hand and the funding will help northern businesses succeed on both fronts.