1) Tell us about your organization.
ReThink BioClean is a revolutionary company offering cleaning supplies, equipment and products focusing on a zero waste model. We provide a unique refillery system for cleaning supplies, to help customers become part of the zero waste and plastic free movement. We supply and bulk-fill our cleaning chemical tanks for customers, and re-use/refill the plastic packaging (jugs/pails) as often as possible to reduce waste.
We are an Indigenous-owned company, based in Regina, SK, with operations in place in Saskatoon, Kelowna and Brandon.
2) Why is a plastic-pollution-free environment important to you?
For myself, I think we are getting to a point of no return. Where the amount of plastics pollution will begin threatening our very limited healthy fresh drinking water supplies and the safety of our marine wildlife.
Canada is blessed with an amazing eco-system of forest, rivers and sea. During the pandemic, we watched with alarm an increase of disposable goods enter our environment – nitrile gloves; disposable masks to name a few. And we sold many plastic pails of disinfectant to communities across the country. We started to explore ideas and options where we could minimize the sale and one-time use of plastic containers for cleaning products. We want future generations to also be able to have an amazing Canadian environment to protect and enjoy.
3) What challenges or obstacles do you face when pursuing your goals?
Often there is a perceived higher cost associated with providing solutions that relate to reducing plastic. Many companies do not like to change the way they currently offer products, so a new option is sometimes challenged. Business managers do not think that their small contribution will be significant to warrant the change.
In Saskatchewan, our provincial leadership have not come on board the Zero Waste movement. It is challenging to win procurement opportunities with government as the bid system is narrow – while they may give some ‘points’ for our model, price always beats the environmental impact of what we do when bidding.
4) Why did you choose to partner with Mind Your Plastic specifically? How do you think the opportunity of a business toolkit from an organization like Mind Your Plastic helps your business and the business sector?
Mind Your Plastic was chosen as a partner by ReThink BioClean because our goals for reducing plastic were completely aligned. MYP promotes the Circular Economy Ambassador Program and ReThink BioClean identifies specifically to a Circular Economy model. Our company wanted a way to track metrics with our organization and the Plastic Awareness and Reduction Toolkit will allow us to monitor and measure the great work that our customers are doing by supporting our plastic awareness initiatives.
We believe the Plastic Awareness and Reduction Toolkit provides a starting point for businesses to get involved. Our goal is to initiate several audits a year with our customers and then provide feedback with the net change for the reduction in plastics waste. We believe that if we track this change for a given industry we can demonstrate accurate numbers, where making this change using our business model is making a difference. We want to showcase our success so that others business owners will understand the impact that we can make if we all get onboard.
5) Why should businesses care about eliminating plastic waste?
Businesses should care about eliminating plastic waste because our worlds landfills cannot take any more plastic. Many businesses are not aware that over 90% of plastic waste does not meet the threshold to be recycled and ultimately ends up in the landfill.
Also, there is a floating island of garbage/plastic in the ocean – it is estimated that 80% of floating plastic/microplastic originate from land. So, we need to keep better track of how we are using and disposing of plastics, and re-use it as many times as possible.
6) What challenges do you hope programs like PART can help you solve?
I think the most important challenges the PART can help us solve is getting our business community involved in a plastics reduction program. This program allows us to give immediate and long-term feedback on the success their involvement is having in our program. The PART audits will provide metrics and accountability to our customers to know that their efforts are making a difference.
7) Do you think perspectives on plastic elimination need to change? Is there more people should know about?
Our organization believes that perspectives on plastic need to change. Businesses can get engaged in the plastics pollution solution because they can make a difference. Our team was not aware that most plastic does not get recycled and so more education will help put the problem in perspective. We became more educated on the amount of plastic waste when we began researching our business model. We believe that with more education and alternative solutions that we will change the plastics perspective of business owners.
8) What role do you think businesses have in plastic reduction strategies?
Without a doubt, businesses will need to take on a primary role for plastic reduction. We see that when governments enforce the reduction of plastic, businesses will find an alternative to plastic. I think if businesses embrace some of the tools available to them, such as the PARTS kit, this will help identify sound plastic reduction strategies. That is our goal with ReThink BioClean.
9) What does a world with more programs like Mind Your Plastic’s look like to you?
We believe that additional programs like MYP will begin the conversations in our business communities about how large scale the plastics pollution problem is. Education, real-world solutions and innovation, are what is needed to change the mindset of our business leaders.
10) Do you have any recommendations for people wanting to make a difference in their community?
We believe that having the discussion with business owners and letting them know that the plastics discussion is important, and there are options to operating business without the use of – or with reduced – plastic. We also recommend getting involved, by either volunteering or embracing our young people to get involved. The Circular Economy Ambassador program with Mind Your Plastic is a great place to get started.