Zero Waste Heroes

Zero Waste Heroes of Banff: The Homestead Inn Redevelopment Project

Did you know that waste generated by the ‘Construction, Demolition, and Renovation’ (CRD) sector makes up 41% of the Town of Banff’s overall waste footprint? While CRD waste is not included in our current diversion rate of 46%, it will be critical to address as we move toward zero waste. Material from this waste stream that could have been diverted (i.e. drywall, wood) produces harmful greenhouse gas emissions and takes up limited landfill space. The Town of Banff is exploring options to ensure that these valuable materials don’t end up in the landfill and are recovered as a resource. 

We recently spotted an amazing example of success: The Homestead Inn Redevelopment Project. The materials were all in separate bins, looking clean and well-organized. We got together with the site superintendent from CANA Construction to learn more. 

As it turns out, CANA is no stranger to the expectation of meeting high environmental standards in construction projects. Having worked on many LEED projects, they are familiar with best practices and, with respect to waste, work very hard to ensure that as few materials reach the landfill as possible. CANA also has included environmental sustainability as a corporate focus area; as such, it is automatically assumed that all of their projects will take energy, waste, water efficiency and more into consideration.

The Homestead Inn also prioritizes sustainability in their mandate, with a strong focus on waste. From regular waste audits (a fancy term for digging around to find out what’s in the garbage!) to purchasing post-consumer recycled products and more, their business model already prioritized moving toward zero waste. As such, collaborating with CANA to include zero waste principles in their redevelopment project came naturally. 

The Homestead Inn Redevelopment Project has been tracking and measuring the total waste production and materials recycled, including: concrete, asphalt, wood, cardboard & paper, metals and plastics. The demolition phase of their project reached a 95% diversion rate! They have also brought an additional bin on site to compost the food waste that results from staff working on site. Their overall target is 75% diversion and they are well on track to achieve it. Big congrats to the Homestead Inn & CANA team on being one of Banff’s Zero Waste Heroes! 

The Town of Banff encourages other construction projects to reduce waste wherever possible, and divert the remaining materials from the landfill. This How-To Guide (PDF) provides suggestions and tips to help your operation. The team at CANA also has a few pointers for CRD sector members to consider when looking to incorporate zero waste principles in their operations: 

  1. Provide education to your staff and contractors. Let them know this is a priority and explain how to participate!
  2. When planning your site, allocate space to appropriately separate and sort waste. 
  3. Understand how this will (positively) affect your bottom line. It is almost always more affordable to appropriately sort and recycle CRD materials, and it’s not that difficult! Significant cost savings can be realized through doing so. 

Below: Sorted loads of wood waste being tipped at the Francis Cooke resource recovery facility in Exshaw.

Sorted loads of wood waste
Sorted loads of wood waste at resource recovery facility in Exshaw