And the “Oscar” Goes to… Avalon Mall

By Meredith Hynes
December 1, 2023

Our team was proud to release Crombie’s 2022 ESG Report earlier this week. This report provides greater details on our ESG initiatives and strategies, highlighting the achievements and priorities that reflect Crombie’s commitment to long-term sustainability.

The primary drivers of Crombie’s environmental commitments are the properties we own, operate, and develop. For over a decade, Avalon Mall in St. John’s, NL, has been recognized for its industry-leading sustainability programs and initiatives.

In 2019, the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB), tasked with advancing the implementation of the Provincial Solid Waste Management Strategy, supported Avalon Mall to acquire an in-vessel composting unit to manage organic waste generated and collected in the food court. On Food Waste Friday, during Canada’s Waste Reduction Week, Avalon Mall officially launched its Organics Recycling Program.

Avalon's Brome industrial composter located near the food court entrance
Avalon’s Brome industrial composter located near the food court entrance

“This is the first in-vessel system to be used at a shopping center in the province” says Jamie Stroh, Crombie’s Property Manager at Avalon Mall. “The Brome industrial composter reduces the volume of food going into the waste stream considerably through a thermophilic (heating) process, creating a composted product that is used by local farms. The waste material from the composter is collected by a local farmer and taken to the fields to cure (finish the composting process) before being used as topsoil on his crops.” The journey to diverting organic waste at the retail complex began in early 2019, and fortunately was in place before the onset of COVID-19. “The pandemic certainly impacted how we originally planned for the waste to be collected, however, despite these challenges, to date over 150,000lbs of organic matter has been diverted from the landfill.” says Jamie.

A waste audit completed by MMSB in June 2022 concluded that Avalon Mall’s diversion rate had improved from 31.48% to 44.43%, and identified further potential for growth once COVID-19 separation restrictions eased. This improvement would not be possible without our hard-working team at Avalon Mall who manually sort, clean, and divert the waste generated by the food court.

Members of our Avalon Mall team at work
Members of our Avalon Mall team at work

In 2023, Avalon Mall installed “Oscar Sort“, centralized zero-touch waste stations to help customers properly separate their waste in the food court. With the support of AI technology, optimizing waste diversion at Avalon Mall is now as simple as showing your waste to a screen. “The procedure for processing organics at the food court has been improved, and the ability to separate and divert organic material in the absence of a municipal program has allowed the Avalon Mall to recertify the property under the BOMA BEST platform and improve our standing from Silver to Gold,” says Jamie. In 2022 Avalon Mall received BOMA Canada’s TOBY (The Outstanding Building of the Year) Award for Enclosed Retail under 1,000,000 square feet.

Programs like this highlight the hard work and operational discipline the Avalon Mall team has dedicated to sustainability initiatives, community engagement, and building management. To successfully deliver on our ESG vision, we must bring our clients, our customers, our communities, and, most importantly, our properties along with us on this journey. Crombie is proud of the progress the Avalon Mall team continues to make, and congratulates the entire team on this wonderful program.

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