Going Green: 6 Eco-Friendly Edmonton Businesses

By Ivan Boychuk on September 23, 2020
    
	With every passing year, consumers are becoming more conscious of how their purchase decisions affect the environment. Luckily, many businesses are up to the challenge of providing eco-friendly products and services.

Let’s take a look at six businesses in Edmonton that are doing their part for the environment!

1. Blush Lane Organic Markets 

Whyte Avenue, Edmonton | 4 Locations in Calgary Blush lane Organic Markets Blush Lane’s Organic Markets began with the vision of creating a positive impact, both on a local and global level. Their markets actively promote sustainable agriculture, ethical practices, and environmentally conscious actions. But they don’t just talk the talk, they also walk the walk. Here are a few of the ways they have incorporated environmentally-friendly practices into their business:

Green Energy 

By investing in Bullfrog Power, Canada’s leading green energy provider, Blush lane offsets the environmental impact resulting from power used at its markets. What does this mean? It means that Bullfrog Power estimates Blush Lane’s total energy use and puts the same amount of energy back onto the grid, except that this energy is sourced from renewable sources. For example, Bullfrog will add power to the grid from hydro, wind, or fuel created from organic waste.

Certified Organic or Hydroponic Produce

The majority of Blush Lane’s produce is Certified Organic. With no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, GMOs, dyes, or irradiation, produce is grown in harmony with the native land, water, and air. As additional benefits, organic food is also healthy and tastes great! Hydroponic means the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil. Hydroponic growing systems are great because they tend to be as much as ninety percent more efficient with water use and produce three to ten times the amount of produce in the same amount of space. As if that isn’t enough, any crops can be produced twice as fast in a well managed hydroponic system!

Minimal Food Waste 

Blush Lane merged with SPUD.ca (an organic food delivery service) giving them access to SPUD’s warehouse. This helps Blush Lane get just-in-time-inventory, meaning that instead of placing large orders, they are able to order organic produce in smaller quantities more frequently, reducing food waste and providing fresher products to customers. They also take it one step further by providing employees with the opportunity to purchase heavily discounted bags of produce, grocery, or deli items that might be deemed unsellable. Beyond that, all leftover food from their stores is donated to organizations like the Leftovers Foundation and Collective (see #5 on our list) where it is safely composted or donated to those in need. To learn more about Blush Lane Organic Market, you can check out their website!

2. ION Print Marketing Solutions

16419 - 117 Avenue, Edmonton ION Print Marketing Storefront ION has been providing print and marketing services in Edmonton for more than four decades. In 2008, ION started taking some major steps that allowed them to become one of the most environmentally friendly printing companies in Edmonton. Here are just a few of the measures they have taken to protect the environment:

Vegetable-Based Inks

In the past, printing companies would use toxic, chemical-filled inks that pose a significant threat to the environment. However, environmentally-conscious printing companies are beginning to make the switch to vegetable-based inks which offer the same quality of print with just a fraction of the environmental impact. For example, all of ION’s inks are created using corn or soy oil instead of petroleum, helping to reduce the amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are released into the air during the printing process.

Chemistry Free Printing Plates (Processless)

Just like traditional photography, printing plates were previously developed using a series of harmful chemicals like benzene. However, in recent years, chemistry-free printing plates have emerged. These plates can be developed without the use of benzene and provide significant water savings.

Recycling Program

ION has recycling programs in place for all of their paper offcuts, boxes, press plates,and plastics. They also use paper that is largely created from post-consumer waste (recycled) materials. Every tonne of paper recycled is equivalent to:
  • 17 trees
  • 380 gallons of oil
  • 3 cubic yards of landfill space
  • 4000 kilowatts of energy
  • 7000 litres of water
  • 60 pounds of air pollution

Efficient Workspace

ION has also taken several steps to ensure their workspaces are running as efficiently as possible:
  • LED lighting throughout the building (both in print production rooms and office space).
  • Reduced water consumption.
  • Efficient power usage.
To learn how you can work with an eco-friendly printing company in Edmonton, contact ION today!

3. Earth’s General Store

9605 Whyte (82nd) Ave Edmonton Earth's General Store In 1991, Earth’s general store opened as an environmental store that provided people with a number of bulk eco-friendly products, including:
  • Cleaning products
  • Personal care products
  • Cloth diapers
  • Recycled paper
  • Composters
  • Compost worms
However, in February of 2010, they moved to a new location and expanded their offerings to include sustainably sourced fresh, frozen, chilled, and packaged organic food products. Many of these products are locally sourced, certified organic, and Fair Trade Certified. They have taken a number of steps to ensure they’re doing their part for the environment, including:

Investing in Green Energy Sources

They installed their own solar panels that contribute about 10% of their overall power use throughout the store. They also did an energy audit and reduced energy consumption by ensuring proper maintenance of coolers and freezers, swapping out old fluorescent light bulbs with LEDs, and reducing water usage.

Staff Transportation

Of their 21 staff members, about 85% of them commute to the store by foot, bicycle, or bus.

Produce

All of their produce is certified organic (except for the produce they grow - see below). Certified Organic produce has a lower GHG and carbon footprint than non-organic agricultural produce. The organic process focuses on feeding the soil and helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere During the summer, the staff at Earth’s General Store also grow a 50’ by 150’ garden that is located just 170 steps from their store. Talk about locally-sourced!

Waste

They have been refilling people's containers and bags since 1991. Over a typical year, they help people avoid over 78,000 counters (laundry, maple syrup, etc) and 65,000 plastic bags.

Recycling

An extensive recycling program helps the team at Earth’s General Store generate 75% LESS waste than a typical store of similar size.

Food Waste

Food that is past or nearing its best before date is heavily discounted, given away for free, donated to an animal sanctuary, or composted in order to minimize waste.

No Meat

Meat has a heavy climate footprint so Earth’s General Store does not supply any meat products. In fact, most of their staff follow a vegan or plant-based diet. Earth’s General Store also provides a wealth of knowledge to Edmontonians, encouraging them to consume less, consume wisely, and consume locally. They are also proud promoters of a zero-waste lifestyle by offering bulk options for most of their products, helping you to reduce your plastic footprint! Their website has hundreds of helpful resources on important global topics like animal rights, human trafficking, climate change, and much more. To learn more about Earth’s General Store, or to educate yourself on important global issues, you can visit their website here.

4. Sustainable Food Edmonton 

Sustainable Food Edmonton Sustainable Food Edmonton is a nonprofit charitable organization that initiates and supports projects and programs to encourage the building of community through urban agriculture. They connect communities and children with their food and educate them on the importance of a healthy planet to make it all happen! Here are a few of the programs provided by Sustainable Food Edmonton:

Urban Ag High

This program was created to address the lack of connection, coordination, and collaboration between local educators and communities interested in running school agriculture projects across Edmonton. Through Urban Ag High, Sustainable Food Edmonton helps educators implement urban agriculture programs for junior and senior high school students, helping them to develop an understanding of the importance of urban agriculture.

Little Green Thumbs

Little Green Thumbs gives students the opportunity to grow and eat healthy food right in their own classrooms! This program can run for several months during the school year and provides students the chance to grow tomatoes, peppers, herbs, greens, and other vegetables. Not only does this encourage healthy eating for Edmonton children, but it also teaches the importance of eco-friendly food production. With a growing global population, this is a skill that will only become more valuable as time goes by. This program is open to students in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Beaumont, St. Albert, and Morinville.

Community Gardens

Sustainable Food Edmonton’s Community Gardens program helps local communities plan, build, and maintain their very own community garden. These gardens are one hundred percent community-owned, operated, and maintained, creating strong ties between neighbors, friends, and families. Community gardens play an integral role in demonstrating environmental stewardship. Interested in any of these programs? You can learn more by visiting the Sustainable Food Edmonton Website!

5. Leftovers Rescue Food

Edmonton and Calgary Leftovers Foundation Edmonton The Leftovers Foundation is one of Western Canada’s largest food rescue charities with a dual mission of reducing food waste and increasing food access through community mobilization. Their goal is to ensure edible food is kept out of the landfill and instead is redirected into the hands of those who need it most. Not only does their work help feed those in need, but it also helps promote a healthy planet. Did you know that the average Canadian wastes over 170 kilograms of food per year? This has become a major environmental problem, considering that methane produced by food waste rotting in landfills is 25 times more powerful a greenhouse gas compared to carbon dioxide. The YEG Leftovers Foundation is helping to address this issue by diverting excess food from landfills and reducing the overall amount of food waste produced through data tracking and reporting. They accept food donations from a variety of different businesses, including:
  • Cafes
  • Bakeries
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • More
Their efforts help to redirect more than 6000 pounds of food every week. This amounted to a grand total of 311,602 pounds donated in 2019! To sign up as a donor or to become a volunteer, visit the Leftovers Rescue Food website today.

6. Edmonton Reuse Centre

6835 83rd Street, Edmonton Edmonton Reuse Centre The Reuse Centre accepts various items from Edmonton residents free of charge and makes them available to organizations and individuals for reuse at a small fee of $5 per 25 Kg of items. The Reuse Centre is unique as it deals with items that are not accepted for reuse elsewhere. Their acceptable items list features over three-hundred items across ten categories that include:
  • Arts & crafts supplies
  • Home decor
  • Metal
  • Media
  • Needle craft supplies
  • Office and school supplies
  • Paper products
  • Plastic
  • Seasonal party supplies
  • Wood
  • Other items
For a full list of their accepted items, see this page. The items found at the reuse centre are ideal for artists, teachers, day home providers, nonprofit organizations, families or just about anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact by giving items a second chance. In fact, the Reuse Centre accepts (on average) twenty-seven tonnes of items per month! Just think, that’s twenty-seven tonnes of goods that are diverted from landfills and put to good use by environmentally conscious Edmontonians. Beyond the environmental benefits provided by the reuse centre, it is also considered by many a community hub where people come together to inspire each other and get ideas on how they can better incorporate reuse into their lives. View this page to learn more about the reuse centre or to see how you can get involved today!

6 Edmonton Businesses that are Doing Their Part for The Environment

To recap, here’s our list of the some of the most environmentally friendly organizations in Edmonton:
  1. Blush Lane Organic Markets
  2. ION Print Solutions
  3. Earth’s General Store
  4. Sustainable Food Edmonton
  5. Leftovers Rescue Food
  6. Edmonton Reuse Centre
As an environmentally conscious consumer, now more than ever it’s important to vote with your dollars. We hope this list provides the information you need to make the right decision!