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Black & McDonald is an integrated, multi-trade prime contractor with services ranging from construction and planned maintenance agreements, to facilities management and operations.  As a result of business growth, Black & McDonald moved 120 employees to a new office in Markham, Ontario.

The new office offered an opportunity to establish a new approach to waste management and a change in office culture. Black & McDonald implemented a centralized waste management system and set a lofty goal of achieving zero waste.



To achieve a zero waste office, the Facility Management and Operation’s Energy and Sustainability team decided to implement a centralized recycling program. Rather than having deskside trash and recycling bins, employees would dispose of their waste at convenient stations throughout the building.



By initiating the centralized recycling program, the employees were tasked with sorting their own waste, thus taking ownership of the waste they generated. They became motivated to make the right choices at the bins to increase diversion rates.

To identify how many recycling containers were needed, the sustainability team reviewed the construction site several times. Carolyn McDonald, Energy and Sustainability Coordinator states “We considered areas where people would be walking regularly to identify the high foot traffic corridors, and planned the container locations accordingly.”

The new recycling, e-waste and confidential paper collection bins were then plotted on floorplans of the building.


The next step was to select a recycling container supplier. The sustainability team partnered with CleanRiver Recycling Solutions stating “We liked CleanRiver’s philosophy and closed loop manufacturing. We hoped to create lasting relationships with responsible vendors.”

The sustainability team considered the type and typical volume of anticipated waste from each facility area, and worked with CleanRiver to select containers with the appropriate capacity, footprint and aesthetics.

The customized graphics include facility-specific images of waste and text for maximum impact and recognition.Due to the lack of industry standard colors for recycling streams, the sustainability team chose what they felt were the most commonly used colors. The recycling containers have consistent color-coding for the stream openings and graphics: blue for recycling, grey for paper, green for organics and black for landfill waste.

The sustainability team now sends out monthly communications to all employees to inform them of their current diversion rate. The waste hauler generates a report showing the impact their program has on the environment in terms of resources saved. This keeps everyone motivated to achieve their zero waste goal. This report has been fundamental in highlighting the program’s progress and overall impact to the Black & McDonald team.When Black & McDonald employees transitioned to their new office, they were required to participate in an information session. The session covered the new office culture and protocols including Black & McDonald’s focus on sustainability and the new waste management system. Everyone learned how to divert their waste by placing it in the correct stream and make the right choices at recycling stations.

Including the custodial staff was made a priority by the sustainability team. The waste hauler gave a presentation and guidance to the custodial staff for disposing waste effectively in the back-of-house bins; and, the facility manager enabled a simple communication system for the evening and weekend custodial staff to provide feedback or suggestions for the new program.


3 months after moving into the new office, Black & McDonald achieved its zero waste goal with a diversion rate of 93% and continues to maintain a diversion rate of more than 90%!

To summarize, here’s how Black & McDonald used the 3C Process to achieve their 93% diversion rate:


  • Had a dedicated resource to plan and execute the recycling program.
  • Baked the recycling program right into the site construction floor plan.
  • Made employees responsible for disposing the waste they produce.
  • Included the custodial staff in the launch and ongoing monitoring of the recycling program.
  • Involved procurement to reduce the amount of waste coming into the facility.


  • Launched the program to employees, telling them what goes in each stream.
  • Distributed monthly communications re diversion metrics and resources saved.
  • Maintained ongoing communication with the custodial team for continued improvement.
  • Provided clear graphics and use of color coordination to help people make the right choice.
  • Standardized the program with the consistent graphics and colors on all bins in the facility.


  • Identified the high foot traffic areas and placed bins accordingly.
  • Ensured the right number of bins per department head count.
  • Chose the correct capacity and foot print for each location.
  • Enabled the waste hauler to do a presentation to the custodial team on how to dispose of the back-of-house waste.

Ongoing Improvements

Black & McDonald’s next goal is to reduce the amount of total waste they generate. Procurement is on board. They are reviewing the type of waste that’s coming into the facility, and working with vendors and suppliers to provide either recyclable or compostable packaging options.

The sustainability team is planning an internal waste audit to measure the levels of contamination in each stream. This will further identify areas for improvement to their recycling program.

Black & McDonald is currently integrating similar waste management programs in the facilities they manage and operate. By collaborating with their clients, Black & McDonald applies simple, tangible and measureable sustainability initiatives into the services they offer.

Congratulations to Black & McDonald on creating such a successful program! To learn how the CleanRiver 3C Process can help you achieve your waste diversion goals call us today at 1-888-646-4246 or email


What Our Clients are Saying

“At Priddis Greens Golf & Country Club, we were seeking a sustainable solution to expand our recycling and waste collection program. Most golf specific suppliers for these products are out of the United States and overpriced. CleanRiver worked with us to create custom solutions for managing the collection of various items including scorecards, pencils, towels, recycling, and waste. We are very happy with the end results and look forward to expanding our products to enhance collection at our practice facilities as well as on the golf course.”

Chad Thomlinson
General Manager & PGA Executive Professional

“I wanted to follow up with a thank you note. We have received our bins and installed them throughout our facility. They are spectacular. See pics attached.

Jim, sincere thanks for the grant funding and allowing us to really elevate the look of our building. It’s amazing what a difference these bins make.

Thank you both for working so closely with us through this process and making it so seamless. I hope you are both staying healthy and happy.”

Erin Wagner, CPA CA
Finance Manager, SLS Family Sports Centre

“I can’t tell you how much this container is getting praise around here. The Public Works Director attended an Executive Management Team meeting in that conference room at City Hall with the new unit, and he was sure to let me know that the container received several compliments. These will catch on like wildfire in that beautiful old building that needs better recycling options than just a dumpy blue pail.

Kerry Parker
Program Specialist, City of Alameda

“We were put in contact with Tom Lembo in early October. Within 2 weeks we were able to finalize our full order with ease. Tom always responded to our emails in a timely fashion, even when he was traveling at tradeshows. I value good customer service and I felt it was important to forward this feedback to the company. Tom made this process easy and smooth and answered all questions on our end. Tom even suggested some training tools for our employees in order for our company to become efficient in recycling. It is difficult to find valuable people who truly make a difference with a client, and Tom did exactly that.

Nada Elnabelsya

“The addition of the recycle bins along with the correct location of the bins has been an outstanding success and we look forward to even more improvement with the new bins provided this year that are located at all entrances. We are very pleased with the progress we have made recycling and appreciative of the help we have received.”

Don Phelps
Assistant Stadium Manager, McMahon Stadium

“Thanks for your time this morning. A couple pictures with the receptacles in action! They turned out so great, I am beyond thrilled with them.”

Nicole Flewell
Director of Sustainability, Taylor Farms

“On behalf of the Green Army Team at TSH, I would like to thank Karen Morris for the outstanding patience and the excellent work she has done to help us improve our waste diversion rates.

Melissa Nobrega
Environmental Services Manager, The Scarborough Hospital

“We made a major purchase of two different CleanRiver units for our campus. In both locations, our newly renovated student center and our athletic fields, both aesthetics and function were of utmost importance. The CleanRiver TIM and Excel Slant top units ended up being perfect for the locations. They look great and are very functional. Thank you also for the great customer service through the process!”

Natalie Berland
Manager of Sustainability, Bentley University

“Hello! Just wanted to let you know that the bins arrived on Friday. Everyone (staff and our members) loves them! They look great! I’ve attached a few pictures for you! We’ve moved them all into place and they are being used! Thanks!”

Kerri Vanderbom
Project Coordinator, Lakeshore Foundation

“I wanted to thank you for the prompt delivery of the bins. Everyone is very happy with how well they look. We are still in the process of getting them all switched out on grounds, but I wanted to let you know how happy we are. Thanks again!”

Michael Weatherman
Operations Supervisor, Oregon Zoo

“We LOVE the new bins! They look awesome and are definitely what we’ve been wanting. I definitely hope to purchase more bins in the future, I imagine we’ll be looking at additional TRH bins for the academic buildings.”

Brian Webb
Sustainability Coordinator, Houghton College

“The project has been a success and people of the different sites from the Corporation are really integrating the concept. The signs and the bins were perfect for the purpose.

Isabelle D’Amour
Tanguay, Agente d’aménagement des installations/Facility Development Officer Société des musées de sciences et technologies du Canada

“Thank you for everything you did to have my five recycling stations delivered one week before my requested deadline. I truly appreciate the outstanding service! The graphics and the stations as a whole look fantastic, and the staff here at the convention center are also impressed with this quality product.”

Kimberlee Dobbins
Sustainability Coordinator, Virginia Beach Convention Centre

“We tried to have a recycling program before but didn’t have enough manpower to sort the garbage and the bags were too big and heavy to lift out of the bins. We researched some different…

JJ Muehlhausen
Little Rock Zoo

“We have multiple clients that have chosen CleanRiver recycling bins. They are high-quality, durable products with great signage options that help teach users how to properly sort what’s in their hand.

Christina Reeves
Principal Environmental Specialist, Progressive Associates – a Saint Paul, MN-based sustainability consulting firm

“I have had the pleasure of working with CleanRiver for five years. We have purchased a large quantity of the 3 and 4 bin recycling stations for use at several of our facilities across the state (we have 54 facilities from Rockford to Cairo and Quincy to Danville). Based on several factors outlined below, we hope to purchase more in the future.

David B. Miller, SRMP
Illinois Army National Guard