We’ve celebrated and shared stories of several of our team members here on the MASS Blog over the past several months. Today, we are featuring one of our team members who truly exemplifies what it means to not just ‘talk the talk,’ but also to ‘walk the walk.’ Gavin McGuire joined our team in 2019, as a member of our Waste Audit team. He has since transitioned into a dual role, working as both a Waste Audit Technician, and our Sustainability Coordinator. This position maximizes Gavin’s skills as a hands-on waste diversion expert, while providing him with the ability to look at sustainability through a strategic lens, as we move forward into the future as a company. Keep reading to learn more about Gavin. Enjoy!
Q1. If you could describe a “Day-in-the-life” of a Waste Audit Technician at MASS Environmental Services Inc., what three words would you use?
Q2. What have you learned since you joined the MASS Team?
Since I began working with MASS in early February, I have learned so many things about the waste and recycling industry. This experience has opened my eyes to the importance of keeping recyclables clean to ensure that they are suitable for end-markets. The Waste Audit team sees contamination on a daily basis, and a significant amount of recyclable materials being landfilled due to improper recycling practices. Unfortunately, many non-recyclables products have the triangle recycling symbol on them, which confuses consumers into thinking they are accepted in their recycling, which is often not the case. This ‘mixed messaging’ is something I’ve become extremely aware of during my time at MASS, and I enjoy working closely with our clients to eliminate that confusion in order to ensure better recycling.
Q3. What do you like best about working with our clients?
I like that each client we work with has unique needs and expectations. There are also unique challenges that each client faces. Helpiong to find solutions is what I enjoy the most. Our clients are very engaged and willing to learn the reasoning behind why certain materials cannot be put in the recycling. Many of them are also interested in finding out what their materials will become – for example, food-waste that is turned into a renewable natural gas.
Q4. If you could share one message with everyone you know about waste and recycling, what would it be?
Check with your local municpality and review their list of accepted recyclable materials. In Ontario, recycling is confusing for many residents, however it does not have to be. Most municipalities now have online tools where you can search for specific materials to see if they are accepted in your local blue bin program. Tools such as the “Waste Wizard” for the City of Toronto and the “What Goes Where?” tool here in Northumberland County are great for education purposes. Generally, if you need to think twice to make sure something is recyclabe, it most likely isn’t. There are also some municipalities with unique diversion programs, such as the textil recycling program in the City of Markham, which diverted over one million tonne of textiles from landfill the the first year. I’d encourage everyone I know to visit the solid waste page on their municipality website to see what opportunities for waste diversion exist for you, and take advantage of these programs!
Q5. At MASS, we always say “Change Begins With Just One Step.” What does this mean to you?
Changing behaviour is a difficult task. People, by nature, love to follow a routine. Change, simply put, just messes with our day-to-day lives. Taking that first step towards change can be difficult and scary for some. To be honest, I am one of those people. Being on the road so much for work, I have recently added a travel mug to my routine for my morning coffee. At first, it was hard to remember my mug when I walked out the door, and it does still test me at times. However, it has become a part of my routine to avoid disposable coffee cups. Other small adjustments are avoiding the drive-thru and supporting local coffee shops that encourage and give discounts for bringing a re-usable mug.
For more about Gavin and the rest of our team, CLICK HERE. We are so grateful to each member of the extended ‘MASS Family’ for all that they do.