The Right Tool for the Job

h4h image If you could travel back in time, what would be the one thing you would bring with you? Most of you will probably answer “the winning lottery ticket numbers”, “my computer” or “detailed instructions on how to build the time machine in case it breaks and I need to get back”. I would bring back an air-powered nail gun. Why a nail gun? Witnessing the expression of awe on a home builder’s face when you drive a nail into a 2×4 in a millisecond would be the ultimate moment. Tools have the ability to transform a routine task: finish it faster, improve the quality of the finished product, and even improve the experience of the user. I experienced the opposite transformation a few weeks ago when Darryl (one of our Re-TRAC Connect developers) and I volunteered to build homes for Habitat for Humanity. Read more

When the shoe doesn’t fit

banner_shoe_v2_700pxEarlier this month, I had the opportunity to sit in on a presentation at the Sustainable Oregon conference, organized by the Association of Oregon Recyclers. The presentation entitled “Sustainable Consumption: Why, What, and How?” was delivered by David Allaway (Oregon DEQ) and Lauren Norris (City of Portland). In the presentation, David and Lauren shared highlights from a recent workshop held in Eugene, OR. The Role of Cities in Advancing Sustainable Consumption workshop consisted of academic researchers and policy experts seeking to explore actions that cities can take towards achieving a more sustainable consumption rate at the local level. In the year 2015, it’s hard to accept the fact that advancements in technology alone will not solve the over-consumption problem we have created on its own. David Allaway spoke of the global consumption crisis that is upon us – our global ecological footprint is equal to approximately 1.5 of the Earth’s. What does that mean? Read more

Friday, June 19th is Bike to Work day!

bikes Our team is all geared up for the annual Bike to Work day in Winnipeg. An average Spring => Fall day in our office sees the bike rack filled to the brim, and tomorrow will be no different. The City of Winnipeg is hosting the 8th annual celebration and have quite the party planned. 60 pit stops will be available throughout the town to hand out beverages, bike repairs and prizes.

Program Success Shines Brightly in April

A number of Re-TRAC Connect programs were featured in the news last month. Here’s the recap:

Ontario Waste Management Association looks to close the data gap

How do I stack up against the rest of the sector? How do I determine our baseline in order to measure success or failure? These are some of the questions that Rob Cook, CEO of the Ontario Waste Management Association (OWMA), set out to answer with the help of Re-TRAC Connect. He determined that the first step towards assisting his member organizations in answering these questions is to start with province-wide data collection from landfills. OWMA aims to expand the program to other facilities by the end of this year. Rob Cook was recently profiled in the Solid Waste & Recycling news.

The Pepper Challenge (Updated June 2)

The Pepper Challenge Things are heating up in our office! Several Emergineers are competing this spring to see who can grow the best peppers. To keep it interesting (like gardening isn’t riveting enough!), a PEPPER CHALLENGE has been proposed. The rules are simple – milestones in the lives of our peppers will be tracked and a point will be assigned to each milestone. The most points at the end wins and is crowned the Pepper Champion!

Why we played Bingo for Earth Day (and how you can too!)

We developed a bingo card (Earth Day edition) with the goal of completing the whole thing so each of us pledged to complete a square. Some were easier than others (Cathie made sure she took the stairs to our fourth story office instead of using the elevator this morning) and I have pledged to ‘Slay vampire energy’ when I get home tonight. Earth Day Bingo Card

Emails vs. Blog: Which is best?

email_vs_blog_final When we encounter a challenge we typically: 1) Learn about the issue 2) Reflect on past issues to seek similar solutions 3) Brainstorm possible solutions based on all known criteria 4) Propose solution and come to an agreement with everyone involved 5) Implement 6) Schedule a future evaluation The Re-TRAC Connect Blog is our solution to conquer the following challenge: “How do we communicate new features to our 18,000+ users without overwhelming their inbox?”

Recycling Initiative Yields Big Results

TRDI Logo They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, they weren’t kidding! We’re proud to announce that the Texas Recycling Data Initiative (TRDI) results are in and it was a BIG success. TRDI is a voluntary, collaborative, and confidential study that, with the help of Re-TRAC Connect, quantifies the amount of recycling that occurred in Texas in 2013 and establishes a baseline recycling rate to measure future progress.