THE BUTCHART GARDENS' RECYCLING & ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
The Butchart Gardens currently has recycling programs in place for many of the waste items we generate on a daily basis. Recycling initiatives are pursued whenever possible and practical, and at a reasonable cost. The environmental effect is considered in all purchasing decisions.
In an average year The Butchart Gardens recycles approximately:
- 29 metric tonnes of cardboard
- 5 metric tonnes of glass, metal and paper
- 57,000 deposit beverage containers
These items are among the higher volume recyclables processed on a daily basis.
SOME DEPARTMENT SPECIFICS
- All metal and copper wiring is recycled.
- All firework props are recycled and reused.
- The use of low energy & LED fixtures in buildings is expanding.
- All incandescent light bulbs are being replaced with compact florescent bulbs with all being replaced by 2010.
- Food waste from all kitchens and coffee grounds from all restaurants is composted.
- Plastic containers are collected and recycled.
- All wine, beer and pop bottles are recycled.
- Wood flats are used instead of plastic flats. They last for five years or more and are made on site.
- The majority of fertilizers used are organic based; many are custom blended for the gardens.
- Wood waste and branches are ground for mulch or compost. Leaves are collected and used for mulch.
- The Gardens continues to test new methods of pest control with safety for our staff, our visitors and the environment as the priority.
- We have a woodland management plan to ensure the health and longevity of our natural forested areas.
- The Gardens has implemented an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, using biological and environmentally safe methods of pest control to reduce our effect on the environment while maintaining the high quality of our plant display. The gardening department has both an indoor (greenhouses) and outdoor (gardens) IPM coordinator.
- Composting is integral to recycling, and all green wastes are turned into useable growing media. The Gardens is now self sufficient in producing a high quality product to meet all of its greenhouse production soil requirements.
- Drip irrigation is used where practical.
- Bags used for visitors’ purchases are 100% biodegradable/degradable.
- Packing material (Styrofoam, paper, bubble wrap) received in shipments is saved and reused in mail order shipments.
- Cardboard, paper and plastic are separated and recycled.
The 2009 Butchart
Gardens calendars are FSC (Forest Stewardship
Council) certified. They are made with
50% recycled paper including 25% post-consumer waste & chlorine free,
printed with vegetable-based inks. FSC
is an international certification and labeling system guaranteeing the forest
products purchased come from responsibly managed forests and verified recycled
- All metals are recycled (e.g. wire, pipe).
- Leftover paint is recycled.
- Scrap wood is ground and used for compost.
- Motion sensors and timers are installed in low traffic areas in buildings to reduce energy use.
- Low flow toilets are used in all washrooms.
- A ‘sensing occupancy’ system is used in the men’s washrooms so urinals only flush when the washroom is occupied.
- In the washrooms the exhaust fans turn on when a toilet is flushed.
- Coolers and freezers are programmed to go through a defrost cycle every 1-2 days instead of every 6 hours which is the norm.
- Freezer and cooler doors are interlocked with fan controls so the fans shut off when the doors are opened.
- Air conditioning and heating for all buildings is controlled by EMCS (Energy Management Control System): (a)heating and air conditioning is scheduled by computer to optimize heating and cooling, and (b) outdoor lighting and fountains are scheduled by computer.
- Radiant heating is used in the shops to provide more focused heating in areas where staff is working.
- An air distribution system is utilized in The Dining Room which transfers heat from one area to another as needed.
- Some greenhouses: (a) utilize floor heating so plants in specific sections can be kept warm, (b) are equipped with heat pipes in the benches for bench soil heating rather than heating the entire greenhouse, (c) have heat retention curtains to save energy, and (d) have roofs that open as an alternative to running fans to cool them.
- In 2000 The Gardens won an Ashrae (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) Award (a regional technology award) for the cooling system in the Gift Store and Visitor Centre buildings. These buildings use water from our irrigation system as a source of cooling.
- The Sunken Garden waterfall and water from streams in the gardens is recycled.
- The irrigation system is automated and adjusts depending on the amount of rainfall, the outdoor temperature and the amount of sunlight.
- Wells and reservoirs ensure the gardens are self sufficient in their irrigation needs.
- Reusable cloth rags are used for cleaning instead of paper towels.
- Vinegar and water is used for most cleaning throughout The Gardens instead of harsh cleaners.
- Many garbage cans throughout the Gardens have a recycling bin beside them to encourage visitors to recycle beverage containers.
- The “Doggy Bags” that are distributed free of charge are biodegradable.
- Bicycles are used by staff in parking lots.
- Use several biodegradable cleaners.
- Collects all vegetable scraps and coffee grounds from the restaurants for composting.
- Collect and sort all bags of recyclable material into (a) Newsprint, (b) Hard plastic, (c) Soft plastic, (d) Office paper, and (e) Beverage cans
Some other examples of items The Gardens recycle are:
- Aluminum foil
- Batteries (pager, car)
- Copier toner
- Deposit beverage containers
- Fryer fat
- Motor oil
- Oil based paints
- Oil filters
- Packing chips
- Paint solvent
- Phone books (through local school programs)
- Photo copiers
- Printer cartridges