Wear Well wins waste reduction reward

John Brannen
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STELLARTON – A local business has been recognized by the Resource Recovery Fund Board (RRFB) for helping to make Nova Scotia a leader in waste reduction, recycling and composting.

Bernie Murphy, left, and Stirling MacLean, president and chief operating officer of Wear Well Garments Limited, stands with one ‘bale’ of ready-to-be-recycled excess clippings. The Stellarton-based company has won the Best Small Business in Nova Scotia from the RRFB’s 16th annual Mobius Awards of Environmental Excellence, a provincial award that recognizes businesses who are innovating in an effort to divert waste. JOHN BRANNEN – THE NEWS

Wear Well Garments Limited in Stellarton is this year’s Small Business of the Year for the 16th annual Mobius Awards of Environmental Excellence, a provincial award that recognizes businesses that are innovating in an effort to divert waste.

Stirling MacLean, president and chief operating officer of Wear Well Garments Limited, was proud the business has been recognized.

“This sort of thing is a continuous effort and I’m pretty proud of the staff because it’s not just one person,” he said. “This is something we need to do more of in Pictou County. We can make a difference here by having a smaller footprint but taking big steps forward.”

Jeff MacCallum, CEO of RRFB, noted that businesses are nominated through a process and staff, along with external stakeholders, review the applications and come to a decision.

“We’re looking for those that have taken an extra step,” said MacCallum. “Wear Well has done something significant to recycle 100,000 pounds of fabric a year and this company has taken on something special.”

MacLean noted that, in addition to recycling, the company basically has zero waste coming out of the facility.

“Of course we recycle paper, plastics and compost, we reuse our fabric and save all the excess clippings from fabrics.”

The clippings are saved, bundled together into ‘bales’ and they’re then shipped to markets in the United States. There, the fabrics are fed into a pinwheel machine that refibres the material into a durable material, commonly used for items such as car mats.

“Even if we do a uniform program for a company with custom colours and designs, any excess materials can be repurposed through this process to ensure they do see someone else wearing those same colours.”

Expansions to the facility in last 10 years have focused on reducing waste. But MacLean noted that it’s not a new idea and that it’s something they’ve always tried to do.

“We’re up to 105 on staff and it’s been increasing steadily as sales have increased. We can grow and prosper, but we can’t do it without everyone onboard. Business is important but what comes first is environment and health. Nothing should trump that.”

It’s not the first time the company has been honoured with an environmental award. Pictou County Solid Waste’s business of the month for August 2014. This led to a nomination to the RRFB from PCSW.

The annual awards the achievements of Nova Scotian organizations that are environmental leaders. According to MacCallum, it's a broad-based approach to recognition.

The award luncheon will take place today, at noon, at Pier 21 in Kenneth C. Rowe Heritage Hall. Admission is a donation to Nova Scotia Nature Trust.

Jon Montgomery, Canadian gold medal Olympian and host of The Amazing Race Canada, will be the keynote speaker, and Amy Smith, co-host of CBC News Nova Scotia, will be the event emcee.



On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn




Business of the Year

Business of the Year (large) – Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation

Business of the Year (small) – Wear Well Garments Company Ltd., Stellarton


Institution of the Year

The Meadows Home for Special Care, Yarmouth


Innovation in Waste Reduction

The Last Re-Sort Reuse Centre, Valley Waste


Waste Reduction Education

Department of Community Development, Acadia University


Individual Excellence in Waste Reduction

Holly Morton, Yarmouth


School of the Year

Tompkins Memorial Elementary, Reserve Mines

Honourable Mention: West Northfield Elementary School


Best Community-Based Project

Beacon United Church, Yarmouth

Honourable Mention: Association for Textile Recycling (AFTeR)

Organizations: RRFB, Wear Well Garments, Nova Scotia Nature Trust CBC News Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation The Meadows Acadia University

Geographic location: Stellarton, Pictou County, United States

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