Success not wasted: the beautiful story of a lasting partnership

Let's go team! In 2012, the contents of a dumpster were sorted and analyzed.

Seven years ago, the coordinator of Action RE-buts, the organization that runs the Semaine québécoise de réduction des déchets (SQRD), offered Cascades the chance to partner with this event. Even though the Week had been created six years earlier, I had not heard of it before being approached. The coordinator did not have to work very hard to convince Cascades to join forces, since the SQRD is directly linked to our company’s values. Over the years, the SQRD has become one of our favourite causes.

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Awareness-raising activities that are anything but ordinary

The SQRD’s commendable aim is to bring attention to and raise awareness about how much waste we produce. What is great about this event is that it regroups many different activities. Every year for the last seven years, we at Cascades have organized a variety of activities to raise awareness among our employees. One of these activities, Semaine sans poubelle, involves removing all the waste receptacles in our offices (with a few exceptions, such as the trash cans in the washrooms!), so that employees become more conscious of the waste they produce during the course of a work day, and find ways to avoid creating waste in the future.

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We also organized an event called Autopsie d’un conteneur, where Cascades’s employees and members of the media were invited to participate in the unloading of a dumpster. The contents of the dumpster were then sorted and analyzed. We found that while our company owes its existence to recycling, our performance was not quite perfect. This finding encouraged us to be more proactive with Cascaders in different company departments. In order to encourage a change in behaviour, we must continue to inform, educate and raise awareness. This is a motto that I often come back to.

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Inspired by Troc-tes-Trucs!

Since we are always trying to innovate, we organized a brainstorming session and came up with a new awareness-raising activity. This new activity involved the whole community and focused on reusing. Thus in 2011, we held a Semaine troc et échange in Kingsey Falls. Over the course of the week, members of the community (employees, residents of the municipality and of surrounding areas) were invited to bring things they no longer needed and participate in a swap. After the success of the inaugural event, we decided to hold it again this year. As a garage sale enthusiast, it was a real pleasure for me to take part in this activity. Click here for details about our second annual event.

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Too Good to Waste

Now here’s my wrap-up question: did you know about the Semaine québécoise de reduction des déchets or Waste Reduction Week in Canada? Do you organize or take part in reduction week activities at your office or in your municipality? Tell us about it and swap some good ideas!

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About the Author
Marie-Eve Chapdelaine

Marie-Eve Chapdelaine is a specialist in sustainable development and has worked at Cascades since 2006. She is particularly interested in building public awareness and changing attitudes regarding social and environmental issues. In her role at Cascades, Marie-Eve uses her expertise to inform, guide and support her colleagues in maintaining the company’s leadership position in sustainable development. She has earned an undergraduate degree in public communications from Université Laval and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in environment at Université de Sherbrooke. “I’ve always been interested in environmental causes, but also in social issues. Sustainable development allows me to pursue both interests at once. What better than to work at Cascades, a beacon in this area, and a company that is open to implementing all sorts of measures to improve performance and maintain its leadership position.” Because she believes every citizen needs to take responsibility for improving their living environment, Marie-Eve is also socially engaged, sitting on several community boards and committees.

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