Sep 30, 2011

Big reward for recycling

CUPE workers recognized for their role in waste reduction and communications

PORT COQUITLAM—In-house waste collection from CUPE 498 has played a key role in making Port Coquitlam among B.C.’s best.

The city of Port Coquitlam was honored in Vancouver yesterday at the Union of BC Municipalities’ annual awards for its continued commitment to waste reduction and online communications.

The City of Port Coquitlam won awards in two categories; they received first place in the Best Practices - Leadership & Innovation Award category for large urban municipalities as well as an honourable mention in the Best Practices - Website Category.

“These awards show that we are heading in the right direction and making a positive impact in our community,” says CUPE 498 president Cheryl Rutledge. “Our members take pride in knowing that they are keeping their work local and using the latest technology to deliver the best service possible.”

The in-house waste collection service provided by municipal workers reminds residents that workers are committed to improving the community they live, work and play in.

Since implementing new automated trucks workers have embraced the new technology, which is clearly working. They strive to be leaders in the industry and will continue to grow and change so they can provide excellent in-house service to their community.

Local 498 workers have been making major strides in waste reduction since 2004 when a new automated collection system using the concept of three-cart waste-sorting was introduced.

A phased strategy was also launched in 2008 making Port Coquitlam a leader in waste reduction. Collection of vegetable and food scraps began, followed by all food scraps/food soiled papers in 2009, alternate-week garbage collection in 2010 and food scrap collection was made available to all multi-family homes this year.

Today workers want to continue to work with management to develop new ways to not only help reduce waste, but also communicate with their community.

“Everything we do, we do with our community in mind,” Rutledge says. “We focus on making Port Coquitlam a city that residents are proud to live in.”

However, there could be no waste reduction program without the continued support and involvement of the community. The city’s website ( was redesigned in 2009 to focus on getting the community involved in the waste reduction campaign with simple navigation, easy to read language and interactive content. Port Coquitlam was also the first city in Metro Vancouver to develop a mobile website (

These awards follow the Bronze Excellence Award for Communications that sister city Port Moody recently won at the Solid Waste Association of North America convention. The convention recognizes outstanding solid waste reduction programs. CUPE 825 was recognized for their efforts in reducing solid waste by encouraging their community to recycle or compost. (Click here to read the Solid Win on Solid Waste story)

This is the second year in a row that local 498 has been recognized for their innovative and effective environmental contributions. Last year Port Coquitlam won UBCM’s Best Practices - Civil Engagement Award for involving their community through Port Coquitlam’s website and social media outlets.

COPE 491