SPUD’s relationship with waste
Out of sight, out of mind, right? So it is said for all things including our disposal habits. Or so it was said until an eighth continent arose from the sea made of garbage and bits of plastic were found in the bellies of sea creatures worldwide (1). We here at SPUD have decided it’s about time we rolled up our sleeves to take on a big source of waste: nitrile gloves. These gloves are used by our warehouse team as a food safety measure when packing grocery orders into bins for our customers, but they are also one of our biggest waste culprits.
Partnering with a specialized recycling company
These gloves are one of our biggest contributors to landfill because they are single-use and are not accepted by normal recycling facilities as the glove’s stretchy material clogs the recycling grinders. We at SPUD do not accept the lack of adequate recyclers for nitrile gloves as an excuse to continue creating waste! We kept searching until we found an answer that kept the gloves out of landfill and out of our oceans. What we found was an incredible, leading-edge recycling company called TerraCycle, who we have now partnered with through their Zero Waste Box program.
What this partnership really looks like
TerraCycle helps businesses recycle hard-to-recycle materials (2). We ran a pilot project in the Vancouver warehouse by filling a TerraCycle Zero Waste Box with used nitrile gloves instead of just throwing them out. The pilot was hugely successful. When the box was full (after a few rounds of our warehouse employees taking turns jumping in the box to pack it all down), it was sent back to TerraCycle where a unique process was carried out which hardened the glove material, enabling grinders to turn that material into a reusable powder.
A new future for our nitrile gloves
The pilot’s success allows us to be able to share some exciting news: All of SPUD’s gloves used at our Vancouver warehouse will be diverted from landfill and instead be transformed into new products, such as gymnasium floors! So, one day in the future when you find yourself picking your kids up at the newly renovated gym down the street and you go to show them that ‘Mom can still do a cartwheel at her age’ you could be showing off your moves on what used to be SPUD warehouse gloves- now that is pretty hip in more ways than one!
- Barnhart, Andrew, et al. “The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.” (2017).
- TerraCycle. https://www.terracycle.ca/en-CA/