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GFL collaborates with Westwinds Squamish Senior Living housing project

GFL employee Pennie McNutt standing in front of green GFL dumpsters marked  with 'garbage' and 'cardboard' signage.
Pennie McNutt, GFL waste auditor and Westwinds resident, in the recycling room

GFL's team in Squamish, BC, has helped to create a specialized recycling room in a senior's residence that will help optimize recycling efforts.

“Recycling can be confusing, so our goal of making the room colorful and marked was to help eliminate confusion between the diversion streams,” General Manager, Denise Imbeau, said.

GFL supplied the paint, bins and signage (in collaboration with a local company) to help residents of Westwinds Senior Living differentiate where items go.

The room is equipped with GFL bins which are easily accessible for collection teams to move and lift.  

Pennie McNutt, a waste auditor for GFL, leads the charge at Westwinds by ensuring that the recycling room is used correctly and kept clean.  

McNutt is also a Westwinds resident, which makes her the perfect fit to oversee these responsibilities. Due to her background knowledge, she is happy to volunteer her time to look after the recycling room for the residents.

“That’s what I do. I try to educate people into doing better,” McNutt said.

At least once a day, McNutt checks on the recycle room and takes any trash or recycling that’s not part of the weekly pick-up to the GFL recycling facility or the local recycling depot. She also has other people that help if needed.  

As a GFL waste auditor McNutt makes her rounds checking residential totes and encouraging the community to recycle, with the ultimate goal of saving landfill space.

“You can tell what’s in a bin by what’s on top—generally, what’s on top is a good indicator of what you will see all the way through,” McNutt said.

To help educate residents and improve recycling efforts, McNutt tags bins that contain improperly disposed materials. Mainly she looks for soft plastics, foam, wood, glass, toys and other things that shouldn’t be in there.

McNutt is the go-to person for recycling help at Westwinds where residents can openly ask questions.

She has found that everyone has responded positively to the recycling room.

“Keeping it organized, well-marked and providing education to our residents helps us keep on improving,” McNutt said.

Both Pennie and Denise highlight the importance of educating people on diversion methods for a more sustainable future.

“Shining a light on the waste we produce, and the success of diversion is an important step in creating greener tomorrows,” Denise said. “It’s great to be a part of a company like GFL that supports meaningful changes to our environment and communities.”

The pair are also hopeful that more members of the Squamish community will want to work to improve their recycling knowledge and facilities.

“I want other buildings to view what our recycle room looks like so we can be proud of what we have done and continue to feel inspired to do better,” McNutt said.   

8 blue recycling bins in a line labelled 'plastic bags', 'paper', and 'glass'.

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