Silverburn Centre Hits Zero Waste

Going zero waste is an admirable goal, but it’s probably an uphill battle, a long, drawn-out process. Right?

Maybe not. Silverburn Shopping Centre just hit that magic number is six weeks. From a 9 per cent recycling rate up to 97 per cent, with the extra bit of waste sent for energy recovery. Is that a round of applause we hear?

The center achieved this feat by pairing up with an outside contractor—Shanks Group, specifically. The contractor does the heavy lifting, recycling all general waste and processing organic waste at an anaerobic digestion plant (yum), where it’s converted into energy sources and nutrient-rich soul conditioner.

That’s huge progress from the glass and cardboard recycling programs the center had in place before the zero waste project started. The center didn’t make that progress in a vacuum—a big part of its success is credited to a two week intensive training program for retailers. The center management team supported its retailers as they settled into the new waste-sorting routine.

The rough global economy has slowed down sustainability plans for many centers, but Silverburn finds this program saving it 50 per cent of its previous waste-management costs. Going green can be great for the pocketbook too, apparently.

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