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Special Projects

Find exciting updates on initiatives we are working on below. If you would like to engage Synergy Foundation in a project - from circular economy consulting to urban agriculture project design, build, and maintenance, get in touch.

Building Materials Exchange

Synergy ​Foundation is excited to announce the Building Materials Exchange (BMEx). This circular initiative is facilitated by Light House with the support of Synergy Foundation and funded by the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Zero Waste Recycling Fund, the Capital Regional District, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.

BMEx connects construction and manufacturing businesses in South and Central Vancouver Island to form partnerships that save them money while preventing valuable material from going to waste. That way, one company’s waste becomes another company’s resource.

The project will include a series of collaborative events to help create connections between companies. It will also set up a platform for businesses to seamlessly share their underused materials with other companies that can get more use from them. The initiative will develop a local sharing economy within the manufacturing business community in and around the Regional District of Nanaimo, the Capital Regional District, and the Cowichan Valley Regional District.


Circular Economy Accelerator Program

Final Report

The Vancouver Island Coast Economic Developers Association (VICEDA) has released the Final Report, prepared by Synergy Foundation, for the pilot of the Circular Economy Accelerator Program. The report highlights the receptivity of businesses and local government to support the adoption of circular economy principles, identifies barriers and opportunities to circularity on Vancouver Island, and proposes strategies for overcoming these barriers.

The report also documents the program's impact:


Total Circular Opportunities Identified

22,565 m3

Potential Water Saved*

1,098 tCO2e

Potential Emissions Reduced*

288,844 kg

Potential Waste Diverted*


webinar registrants from 21 countries

* This impact was calculated from the suggested actions for the 16 business participants. The impact metrics capture measurable actions only. Additional savings may be realized through implementation of actions.

Port Alberni

"The process of pulling together all of our inputs has been extremely helpful.  We work in the renewable forestry industry which is poised to become one of BC’s best tools in combatting climate change.  Our circularity assessment now gives us baselines and recommendations to start somewhere.  We now know where we are and want to be part of the change in industry that is gaining momentum."

- Mark Brackett, Project Team Lead, West Coast Pre Fab

Somass Lands Deconstruction Project

Synergy Foundation is excited to announce a new partnership with the City of Port Alberni and North Island College to launch a new program aimed at teaching students about waste reduction in construction and circular economy principles, while providing practical work experience on the Somass Lands redevelopment project. 

The 43-acre former sawmill site on Port Alberni's waterfront will be transformed into a community asset using deconstruction and salvage. Program participants will participate hands-on in this redevelopment project, gaining practical skills that will cover the process of taking down a building and recovering valuable materials that can be reused or recycled. The training also covers the basics of working with hazardous materials, building scaffolding and construction tools. 

Thanks to funding from the Province of British Columbia, the program is fully funded for eligible participants. Participants in the program can also gain access to additional financial support such as transportation and daycare costs, which can greatly reduce barriers to training and future employment. The program starts August 28 and will have space for 12 students.

Circular Economy Business Guide

The Vancouver Island Coast Economic Developers Association (VICEDA) in partnership with Synergy Foundation have recently launched a new circular economy business guide as part of the Circular Economy Accelerator Program. Titled A Business' Guide to the Circular Economy, the publication provides guidance for businesses who seek to implement circular economy concepts in their operations. It presents background information and actionable recommendations that empower organizations across sectors to take action and begin the transition towards circularity.

The guide features:

  • An overview of the circular economy

  • Examples of circular business solutions

  • Case studies featuring Circular Economy Accelerator Program participants

  • Resources to learn more and take action

“We are excited to empower businesses to take action and begin the transition towards circularity. Even small changes can create large impacts, particularly when working collaboratively towards common goals.”

- Georgia Lavender, Director of Program Operations, Synergy Foundation


Construction and Demolition
Best Practices Guide

The Regional District of Nanaimo recently released their Construction and Demolition Waste Best Practices Guide. This guide, developed by Synergy Foundation, highlights best practices, case studies, and resources for members of the construction and demolition industry to identify opportunities to reduce waste and improve environmental performance.

Did you know:

An average deconstruction project diverts 95% of material by volume from landfill 

For every 1 job created through demolition, 6 are created through deconstruction

In Canada, the construction sector generates over 4 million tonnes of waste per year

Read the full guide to learn more about how the construction and demolition industry can make a signfiicant impact on waste diversion through deconstruction and savlaging practices, material reuse, recycling, and procurement.


“Moving from demolition to deconstruction is a necessary step in the transition toward a circular economy and a sustainable future for our region. There is much work to be done and this best practices guide highlights what practical actions can be taken.”

- Ben Geselbracht, Director and Solid Waste Management Select Committee Chair, Regional District of Nanaimo

YYJ Airport Pollinator Garden

A new 1100m2 native pollinator garden has been installed at the Victoria International Airport. FED Urban Agriculture acted as Project Manager for this initiative, bringing in Satinflower Nurseries and Pollinator Partnership Canada as consultants. 

Making the garden a reality took:


native plant seeds


native plants


cubic yards of soil and mulch

garden design drafts



Visit the garden along Willingdon Road near the digital billboard. The garden project was supported by  W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, Peninsula Landscape Supplies, Peninsula Rock Products, Vancity Credit Union, Synergy Enterprises, Stantec, Island Earth Landscape Services, Garden City Tree & Landscape, Listco Landscape & Irrigation, and Graphic FX Signworks.

“When we released our Sustainability Plan in 2021 one of the highlighted initiatives was to work towards meeting the Aichi Biodiversity targets adopted by the United Nations. We have worked with non-profit, government, industry, business, and First Nations partners to develop projects that will enhance and align with the rest of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Goals.”

- Ken Gallant, Vice-President of Operations, Victoria Airport Authority


CleanBC Plastics Action Fund Phase 2

Announced on August 9, 2022, by the Honourable George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the $10 million CleanBC Plastics Action Fund will support innovative plastic waste reduction and recycling projects across the province to bolster B.C.'s circular economy.


The second phase of the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund builds upon the work of the $5M Phase 1 Fund, established in 2020, that increased the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic in the production of plastic items.

Phase 2 of the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund will have three streams focusing on:

  1. Post-consumer recycled plastics processing and manufacturing; 

  2. Reuse and repair businesses and systems that reduce and prevent plastic waste; 

  3. Recycle or reuse projects led by Indigenous businesses, communities, or organizations.

In order to be eligible for funding, applicants must be BC-owned businesses or non-profits with sole or primary operations located in B.C.

Projects considered for the fund will support at least one of the following expected outcomes:

  • Develop the growth of reuse businesses, to support the phase-out of single-use plastics and grow B.C.’s circular economy;

  • Support Funded Projects led by Indigenous people, communities, and businesses as well as businesses in rural and remote communities to stimulate circular economy activities to prevent plastic waste;

  • Support plastic waste reduction in the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) sectors;

  • Increase BC’s processing capacity to supply more post-consumer recycled (“PCR”) plastics to plastic products and packing manufacturers;

  • Increase the use of PCR plastic in plastic manufacturing; or

  • Support PCR plastic product research, design and testing, including pilot projects and trials that increase the use of PCR plastic.


Applications will remain open until all funds have been subscribed.

This fund is administered by Alacrity Canada in partnership with CleanBCSynergy Foundation is the circular economy subject matter expert on the fund.

Circular Economy Accelerator Program

The Circular Economy Accelerator Program, an initiative of Vancouver Island Coast Economic Developers Association (VICEDA) in partnership with Synergy Foundation, provides hands-on support to businesses north of the Malahat and on the Sunshine Coast who seek to adopt circular economy principles, reduce waste and emissions, increase revenue, and develop innovative practices. This program – the first of its kind in Canada – will position business participants as leaders in the circular economy, attracting talent and investment, increasing revenue, and paving the way to a prosperous, sustainable, and resilient future for the community. 

Accelerator program participants will:


  • Complete an on-site assessment with a circular advisor to identify circular solutions for their operations,

  • Receive a report outlining key opportunities to reduce waste, energy use, and emissions,

  • Attend facilitated industry-specific workshops to explore circular economy best practices and strengthen industry connections, 

  • Incorporate leading sustainability practices,

  • Identify cost savings and value-add opportunities, and

  • Receive a certificate of completion for the Circular Economy Accelerator Program.

Applications for the program will open on July 19 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until August 31 or until all spots are filled. All interested businesses are invited to attend a free informational webinar on July 20 at 1pm. 

Image by Christopher Burns

“The Accelerator program will foster innovation, stewardship, and collaboration within our business community, providing the hands-on support they need to adopt innovative circular practices. The transition to a circular economy will secure a vibrant, resilient, and prosperous future that will allow our community and environment to thrive.”

- Amrit Manhas, Economic Development Officer, City of Nanaimo

Ditidaht Community School Launches Recycling Depot

Up until the beginning of June, the Nitinaht community, located northwest of Lake Cowichan, had only one option for its community waste: send it to the landfill. Teacher, Kaila Pidwebeski, who has been working at the local Ditidaht Community School for the past two years, knew there were better options out there and contacted us at Synergy Foundation back in September 2020 to see if we could help them set up there own recycling depot.

Working with Kaila and the grade 8 to 12 students (all 14 of them), Synergy Foundation developed a plan and coordinated key logistics to get the depot up and running to serve the 200-member community. Connections were established with Indigenous Services Canada and Recycle BC for additional support. Indigenous Services Canada has provided funding to cover the full cost of hauling the recyclables out of the community.

“The process of planning a recycling depot and then making it a reality has been an incredible journey,” says Pidwerbeski. “[…] Arming students with a consciousness of their ability to make positive change is tremendously powerful and probably the best chance we have at truly turning things around for the better.”

The depot is now open twice a week and students are on hand to accept recyclable materials brought in by residents and to answer any questions. The facility is housed in a shipping container that was renovated and painted by the students. There are roughly half a dozen students that work at the depot, and they will receive wages from the First Nation for the summer. Now that the depot is operational Nitinaht can look to join Recycle BC’s First Nations Recycling Initiative in the coming year, providing them with the ability to collect other waste streams such as batteries, tires, and appliances.

We have received additional funding from Vancity Credit Union to support other indigenous communities of Vancouver Island to create similar programs. Synergy is welcoming any Indigenous communities that are seeking a recycle depot to reach out directly.

"Our Ditidaht ancestors, and our neighbours, took care of the land before us, and this is a modern example of Ditidaht people continuing that work today." 


- Tina Joseph, Community Member


CleanBC Plastics Action Fund Phase 1

The $5 million CleanBC Plastics Action Fund supports projects in BC that are increasing the use of post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic in the production of plastic items, focusing on innovation, supply chain resiliency and supporting the plastic circular economy. 

Turning plastics from old car batteries into new ones, developing artificial intelligence to sort plastics for recycling and supporting local micro-recycling facilities are among nine projects being funded under the CleanBC Plastics Action Fund.

In order to be eligible for funding, projects had to achieve at least one of the following outcomes when it comes to post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics:

  • Increase BC’s processing capacity to supply more PCR plastics to product and packaging manufacturers

  • Increase the use of PCR plastics in manufacturing

  • Support PCR plastics product research, design, and testing, including trials that have the potential to increase the use of PCR plastic

“These projects show what British Columbians can accomplish when their great ideas and enthusiasm are supported by a government that’s serious about tackling plastic waste and reducing pollution of our land and ocean,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Today, we take another key step towards building a more conscientious and comprehensive B.C. recycling program that’s focused on transforming used plastic into an economic asset.”

This fund is administered by Alacrity Canada. The Alacrity Cleantech team assessed applications for eligibility together with Synergy Foundation, a circular economy subject matter expert. 

This project is funded by the Government of British Columbia's CleanBC Program.


More than 40% of all plastics are designed to be used once and then thrown away.

87% of plastics in Canada end up in landfills, only 9% is recycled, and the remaining 4% is incinerated. 

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