Ocean Friendly Business certificate in hand, Ucluelet Campground maintenance manager Damien Kenyon stands in front of their old wood shed turned recycling centre. (Nora O’Malley photo)

World Oceans Day: Tofino and Ucluelet businesses commit to sustainable waste management

Surfrider Pacific Rim proudly dishes out 15 new Ocean Friendly Business certificates

Surfrider Pacific Rim is excited to announce that 15 new local businesses recently achieved Ocean Friendly Business (OFB) certification, bringing the new total of registered businesses to 57.

To become registered, Surfrider core crew helped businesses in transforming their current practices to eliminate unnecessary plastics, implement progressive waste management practices, and increase regenerative practices.

“It shows local business persistence in working towards circularity in their operations despite the challenges the last year has posed,” said Surfrider Pacific Rim chapter manager Lilly Woodbury.

As part of the “Ocean Friendly” transition process, Ucluelet Campground had a consultation with Sonbird Refuse & Recycling before converting an old wood shed into a recycling centre.

“So far even though we are not at full capacity, it has reduced what we are sending to landfill hugely. I’ve made it as simple as possible for people to understand. This morning alone we saved three bags of plastic from going to landfill. It’s incredible,” said Ucluelet Campground maintenance manager Damien Kenyon, adding that they also implemented a gearbox / free shelf for their campers.

“If anyone that comes needs a tarp, rather than go buy one, they can grab one from there and use it. It brings in that circular economy, which is a big thing Surfrider is working on. The more people use and reuse products, the better it is for everyone,” he said.

Another circularity highlight, notes Woodbury, is that all 15 OFB have switched from single-use amenities to bulk refill dispensers. All the businesses have also installed cigarette butt recycling stations and all 15 pledged to ‘Take Back The Tap’ by not carry single-use plastic water bottles.

“This is a massive support for reaching our goal of eliminating all single-use plastic takeaway packaging before the end of 2022 on the Pacific Rim,” said Woodbury.

In addition to fine-tuning their waste management practices to achieve OFB status, Tofino Resort + Marina (TRM) is also examining ways to increase sustainable fishing in the region.

“This includes ensuring that our adventure team is well versed in providing fishing excursions that are aligned with the values and initiatives of protecting wild salmon in our watershed. This means also consistently staying in contact and collaborating with the community ENGO’s that protect and advocate for healthy fish stocks in Clayoquot Sound,” said TRM’s general manager Christopher Fehr. He went on to add that TRM is a member of clearyourgear.ca, which encourages all anglers who moor at their marina to recycle their fishing lines.

To keep tabs on the OFB certifications, Surfrider makes all the businesses involved do an annual self-audit.

“They fill out a form where they can indicate if they’re still compliant with everything, as well as share new sustainable developments. We also try to meet with businesses once every 1-2 years to see where they’re at and what they can be doing next,” Woodbury notes.

Kenyon says the next item Ucluelet Campground wants to tackle is the ice machine.

“All the ice comes in plastic bags. We are looking at potentially changing that one into a scoop, so people bring their coolers and they just scope it right in. That would literally get rid of all the plastic,” he said.

The new businesses that became “Ocean Friendly” are: Tofino Yoga, Ucluelet Campground, Surf Grove, Hotel Zed, Tofino Resort + Marina, Kuma, Tofino Ucluelet Culinary Guild, Long Beach Surf Shop, Long Beach Nature Tours, Tofino Brewing Company, Majestic Sea Kayaking, Ucluelet Brewery Co., Gaia Grocery, Crab Apple Floral, and Epic Pharmacy.

To learn more about becoming an OFB, contact: lwoodbury@canada.surfrider.org.

RELATED: Surfrider Pacific Rim takes on plastic water bottles


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