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Businesses invited to join Victoria organization’s circular economy program

Accelerator shows businesses how to cut waste and pollution, collaborate with other sectors
Businesses are invited to join a Victoria organization’s program that helps them reduce waste and pollution from their operations. Nulla’s reusable glass that’s been used at some Greater Victoria markets in the summer. (Photo courtesy of The Nulla Project)

A program is looking to expand its impact this year after its pilot phase identified ways a small cohort of B.C. businesses could divert almost 290 kilograms of waste from landfills.

The Victoria-based Synergy Foundation is looking for a new contingent of Vancouver Island and Sunshine Coast businesses to enrol in its Circular Economy Accelerator.

A first-of-its-kind program in Canada, the accelerator seeks to support businesses trying to adopt circular economy principles, reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions and develop innovative practices.

The circular economy aims to eliminate waste and pollution by decoupling economic growth from resource extraction through innovation, reuse and repair, redistribution, recondition and recycling processes.

Participating accelerator businesses receive an in-depth assessment from a circular advisor who then suggests ways the company can reduce waste, energy use or emissions.

The program was piloted across 2022 and 2023 with 16 businesses – mainly from the Island – completing assessments. That helped identify 714 circular solutions that, if adopted, would divert almost 290 kilograms of waste from landfills, reduce around 1,100 tonnes of CO2 (or equivalent) emissions and conserve 22,500 cubic metres of water.

The business’ solutions ranged from actions like donating coffee grounds to local farmers, implementing reusable cup sharing services, repurposing wood from deconstructed buildings into furniture and diverting 150 tons of concrete anchor blocks from the landfill by donating them for reuse in other industries.

The accelerator will be working with up to 85 businesses over the next two years. Businesses will be accepted until all the spots are allocated and can find more information at

The pilot also identified barriers to implementing a more circular economy on the Island. Those barriers include: some regions facing infrastructure gaps that reduce access to recycling and composting services; energy efficiency upgrades can come with high upfront costs; customers or workers may not want to change their habits; and researching solutions can be time consuming.

The Synergy Foundation said some ways to overcome those barriers include increasing light industrial space for ventures to grow, creating hubs where multiple circular businesses operate from a single location and establishing a fund to support businesses transitioning to less wasteful operations.

The accelerator program also looks to see multiple sectors collaborate so they can mutually benefit.

“Sometimes one business’ waste is another’s resource,” the Synergy Foundation’s Georgia Lavender said in a news release.

The Synergy Foundation says the circular economy model spurs innovation that makes life more affordable and empowers new ventures that create green jobs for the future.

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