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Posted on: April 19, 2022

Banff Food Rescue named Zero Waste Trailblazer for Earth Day

Food Rescue News

The Town of Banff is pleased to recognize Banff Food Rescue with a Zero Waste Trailblazer award in a special designation for the week of Earth Day.

Founded in 2016, Banff Food Rescue is a 100% volunteer-driven organization whose goal it is to provide food security to our community by collecting food from grocery stores and other retailers and making it available to people in Banff. 

Although the Zero Waste Trail program and Trailblazer Awards are focused on businesses and institutions for their waste diversion practices, the Town and its partners at the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission and the Banff and Lake Louise Hospitality Association created a special award for this non-profit leader in our community, whose slogan is ‘Keeping Good Food from Becoming Food Waste.’

“Banff Food Rescue represents everything we want businesses and organizations in our community to aspire to,” said Corrie DiManno, Mayor of Banff. “Alanna Pettigrew founded the organization as an important civil society organization that demonstrates environmental leadership.”

“Although we don’t yet have a category for non-profit service organizations, the Trailblazer recognition is overdue for Alanna and all the volunteers at Banff Food Rescue, for their years of supporting the people of Banff, helping businesses enhance their corporate responsibility, and for preventing waste. What an appropriate organization for being the trailblazer for this new community group category.”

Banff Food Rescue collects food such as fruit and vegetables that could not be sold due to cosmetic reasons or best before dates, and provides the nutritional food for free or volunteer donation to people who live in a resort community with higher prices than in other Alberta towns and cities. Anyone can access food from Banff Food Rescue.

“We’re thrilled and pleased to receive the recognition for all the good work of the Food Rescue volunteers,” said Pettigrew. “We’re honoured to get the Trailblazer recognition.”


Volunteer with the community leader

The Banff Food Rescue supports hundreds of residents, entirely run by volunteers. Unfortunately, the staff shortage crunch affecting businesses in Banff this spring also has the Banff Food Rescue in great need of volunteers. Even a small commitment of time goes a long way in helping others, and volunteering with Banff Food Rescue has proven to be an excellent way for people to connect with others in this community with similar interests. Volunteers can sign up for one or more shifts online.

Fourteen businesses have been recognized with the awards since the inception of the Trailblazers program, and the commitment to make zero waste a priority, even during the significant challenges created by the COVID pandemic.  

Banff’s most recent Trailblazers operations are Whitebark Café and the Samesun Hostel, both of which are noteworthy in their efforts to reduce landfill waste and single-use items in particular.

 

Earth Day celebrates new efforts from previous Trailblazers

This Earth Day the Banff Zero Waste program is celebrating the second anniversary of the Trailblazer Awards, which was launched in spring 2020 to recognize Banff businesses and institutions that go above and beyond efforts to move toward zero waste. 

For Earth Day, three Trailblazers agreed to provide updates on new initiatives over the past two years introduced to drive forward zero waste initiatives:

  • Wild Flour Bakery Caféincorporating leftovers in their baked goods, for example the “zero waste cookie” which used espresso grounds, sourdough starter, holiday candy & pretzel to make a thrifty, delicious, and environmentally friendly treat! 
  • Beatnik Saloncontinually paying attention to all of the details and finding creative alternatives to single-use items. Recently, this has included swapping detergent for True Earth strips, sourcing compostable dryer sheets, and sugarcane colour balls. 
  • Fairmont Banff Springs: ploughing forward to eliminate all single-use plastics by 2022! This includes looking at charges for to-go food ware, assessing procurement practices to reduce packaging waste, and more.

A highlight of the last year was the launch of Banff Isn’t Disposable, a pilot reusable container program which included Trailblazer businesses such as The Moose Hotel, Nourish, Wild Flour, Whitebark, and Stock Café at the Fairmont Banff Springs.


Recognition from outside Banff

Thanks to the hard work that Trailblazer businesses, Banff initiatives were recognized in two different categories at the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) conference. 

The Rs of Excellence Awards have been designed to recognize the special contributions RCA members are making to “promote, facilitate, and advocate for a Circular Economy in Alberta through waste reduction and resource conservation.” 

The Town of Banff’s Zero Waste Trailblazers program received an award for creating a unique ‘made in Banff’ solution to communicating and inspiring leadership among businesses who are moving toward zero waste. 

The Town of Banff launched the Zero Waste Trail program in 2019 to help restaurants, hotels and other organizations reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. At least 65% of Banff’s waste going to landfill comes from the commercial sector, and almost 50% of that waste is food.

Since then, the Town of Banff’s commercial sector has started to see progress with respect to our waste diversion goals of 70% by 2028 and sending zero waste to landfill by 2050. Despite impacts of the pandemic, the commercial diversion rate has gone from just under 30% in 2017 to where it currently sits at 43%.  

“With Banff’s business leaders consistently going above and beyond to protect our environment, we feel more hopeful than ever that our goals are achievable,” said DiManno.  “These businesses and organizations are helping us become a model environmental community. Thank you to our newest Trailblazer and all continuing Trailblazers for showing a commitment to doing things differently to help protect our local and global environment.” 

 

Become a Trailblazer

Zero Waste Trailblazers are selected based on 10 categories and 20 certification criteria relating to waste reduction and diversion practices, measured results, and related environmental protection initiatives. The categories are listed at banffzerowastetrail.ca/commercial. Businesses must score higher than 16 points (80%) to achieve Trailblazer status. Special recognition will be given to one business who demonstrates exceptional efforts each quarter. 

The evaluation committee includes representatives from the Bow Valley Waste Management Commission, the Banff and Lake Louise Hospitality Association, and the Town of Banff.

The Trailblazers program is about progress not perfection. The Town wants to hear from all businesses who are making efforts to improve, and especially those who want to do more but don’t know where to start.

The Zero Waste Trail program invites all types of Banff businesses to register for a free consultation and assessment of procedures, training, infrastructure, and diversion measurements. Businesses are provided advice, mentorship from other leading organizations, free signage & training resources, and suggestions for cost-saving strategies. For more information, or to learn how to be a Zero Waste Trailblazer, visit BanffZeroWasteTrail.ca or email zerowaste@banff.ca

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