By Sarka Halas
Canadian Business Magazine
The airline industry isn’t the only one adding extra fees to their bills.
Many airlines started charging a surcharge in an attempt to preserve their bottom lines when the price of oil soared last year. But commodity surcharges may be creeping into other industries as well. Take the paper recycling industry. It’s been hit exceptionally hard by increasing supplies that have cut into prices, forcing some companies to add a surcharge on their collection services.
Nicole Stefenelli, owner and operator of Urban Impact, a Richmond, B.C.–based company that specializes in recycled paper collection and processing, started applying a 30% surcharge last October to replace the revenue she would normally have received from the sale of paper materials. She says many of her competitors have done likewise.
“At one point, we could sell one ton of cardboard for about $130,” Stefenelli says. “At the absolute bottom, the pricing was about $25 per ton. Since then, we have seen it creep up to about $40 to $45 per ton.” Although the prices of all recycled commodities, including metals and plastics, have taken a nosedive, the paper market, which includes cardboard, newspapers and mixed paper, was hit the hardest because it was so overwhelmed with supply to begin with. The surcharge is designed to get companies such as Urban Impact through tough times, but paper recyclers are not the only ones suffering. Even suppliers of once hot recyclables such as copper, steel and iron are having trouble finding buyers these days. That’s forcing companies to stockpile their materials and hope for better days, or, as some U.S. suppliers have done, landfill or incinerate these waste products.
Bob Garino, director of commodities at Washington, D.C.–based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc., says the scrap paper and metals markets have fallen so fast that containers filled with these materials are docked in shipyards, waiting to be unloaded, because buyers are refusing delivery on previously negotiated contracts.
“There are millions of dollars just sitting around, and this is really changing the way people are going to be doing business,” says Garino. “We are going to see more contract diligence in the future.”
Garino says surcharges haven’t been applied to major industrial metals yet, because, unlike paper, they still maintain relatively good values in the market.
But low commodity prices can also affect the bottom line in a positive way. For example, low oil and gas prices are a boon for the trucking division of Urban Impact. But that’s not enough to cover the decline in Stefenelli’s revenues. “We can’t say we don’t want to collect paper anymore,” Stefenelli says. “You can’t turn it off and just say, I’m not pumping oil or gas today and we’ll do it when the price is right. At this point, surcharges may be a matter of survival for us.”
Posted: December 12th, 2008
Published Friday, December 12, 2008
Most charities do good work that benefits us all, but can still struggle with the cost of reducing that pesky eco-footprint.
But if Urban Impact has its way, more non-profits will be able to boast about doing good for humankind and the Earth — without breaking the bank.
Nominations are now being accepted for Urban Impact’s 2009 charity program, which offers free recycling and office paper shredding services to between 10 and 20 Lower Mainland charities each year.
More than 70 charities have been part of the program since its inception in 2003.
Each year Urban Impact commits one per cent of annual pre-tax profit to assist Lower Mainland charities by providing free recycling services as an in-kind contribution.
This helps charities reduce waste disposal and lower their operating expenses, allowing them to reduce administration costs and allocate more funds directly towards charitable efforts.
In 2008, Urban Impact donated an in-kind value of $20,000 to Lower Mainland charities including: Ronald McDonald House; Little Mountain Baseball; Playhouse Theatre Centre of B.C.; the Canadian Cancer Society; Aunt Leah’s Independent Lifeskill Society; Burns Bog Community Giving; Boys and Girls Clubs for Central, Langley, North Vancouver Fraserview and Kinmount; Come Share Society; Wish Drop-in Society; and Lakeview Preschool.
Urban Impact is a family-owned and operated business committed to environmental conservation and global responsibility.
Last year the Richmond-based company collected and diverted 30,000 metric tonnes of recyclable material from local landfills and, in 2007, was named one of the best employers in the province by B.C. Business magazine.
Urban Impact began in 1989 as a university project of founder Nicole Stefenelli, who sought to prove that it was viable for commercial businesses to reduce their waste disposal costs and green their businesses by recycling.
Launched as the first multi-material recycling company in the Lower Mainland, Urban Impact services 4,500 locations, from Whistler to Chilliwack.
Recognizing that all businesses generate paper that is sensitive and confidential, Urban Shredding was established in 2004 to offer clients secure document destruction services. Sharing Urban Impact’s zero-waste philosophy, most shredded materials are also recycled.
Today, a combined staff of more than 80, and 30 collection vehicles, provide clients with complete recycling, shredding and green business consulting services from Urban Impact’s two facilities in north Richmond and New Westminster.
Nominations will be accepted until February 1. For information, or to nominate a charity, contact Nicole Stefenelli firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-273-0089 or Marina Percy at Fresh Strategy: email@example.com, 604-736-9707 or 604-805-6864.
For information, visit the company’s website at www.urbanimpact.com.
Posted: December 2nd, 2008
Nominations are now being accepted for Urban Impact’s 2009 charity program. Urban Impact is looking for 10-20 Lower Mainland charities to join this very successful program that has provided more than 70 charities with free recycling and office paper shredding services since the program began in 2003.
About the Urban Impact Charity Program
Each year Urban Impact commits 1% of annual pre-tax profit to assist Lower Mainland charities by providing free recycling services as an in-kind contribution. This helps charities reduce waste disposal and lower their operating expenses, allowing them to reduce administration costs and allocate more funds directly towards charitable efforts.
In 2008, Urban Impact donated an in-kind value of $20,000 to Lower Mainland charities including:
Ronald MacDonald House
Little Mountain Baseball
Playhouse Theatre Centre of BC
Canadian Cancer Society
Aunt Leah’s Independent Lifeskill Society
Burns Bog – Community Giving
Boys and Girls Club Central
Boys and Girls Club Langley
Boys and Girls Club North Vancouver
Boys and Girls Club Fraserview
Boys and Girls Club Kimount
Come Share Society
Wish Drop in Society
Nominations are being accepted from now until February 1. For more information, or to nominate a charity, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
See the Full story…Posted: November 1st, 2008
By Jennifer Croll
SharedVISION Magazine, November 2008
As a university student, Nicole Stefenelli wasn’t sure how to react when friends encouraged her to follow her passion for recycling. “They said, ‘Nicole, you need to do something about this.’ And I actually didn’t know what that meant.” But she soon figured it out. Today, she’s the founder and president of Urban Impact Recycling.
Started as a university project in 1989, Urban Impact has grown into a Lower Mainland success story. Nicole confesses she’s surprised by how far the company has come. “When I started, one of my best friends said, ‘How many businesses do you need to make a go of it?’ And I said, ‘Oh, 25?’”
Nearly 20 years later, Urban Impact has 4,500 pickup locations. Amid all this eco-friendly success, Nicole’s desire to give back prompted her to introduce Urban Impact’s charitable giving program, which provides free recycling services to charities. The company has also recently taken on the task of going carbon-neutral.
Seeking to strengthen her entrepreneurial chops, Nicole approached the FWE in 2003. “I was just so lucky because the fit, the match, was ideal,” she says of the mentor assigned to her. Still a mentee, Nicole’s unofficial mentoring duties, plus a turn assisting Christina Anthony in organizing the FWE’s e-series entrepreneurial training sessions, suggest that she’s up for the challenge.
In the meantime, Nicole has some sage advice for women entrepreneurs. “Whatever you choose, make sure you absolutely love it, because you will work harder than you’ve probably ever worked,” she says. “But if you do love it and you do feel the passion every time you go to work, it’s easy.”
SharedVISION is an independent monthly magazine for those interested in sustainability, integrative health, and personal growth. They promote solutions for living more lightly on the Earth, providing provocative, entertaining information about organics, eco-products, health, and home, and profiling those who are making a difference.