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Urban Impact reports significant outcomes from latest round of community involvement programs


RICHMOND – The current economic crisis and commodities crunch hasn’t stopped local business, Urban Impact, from forging ahead with its ongoing comprehensive community involvement and environmental programs.

“In tough economic times, it’s critical to maintain your commitment to environmental responsibility and community involvement,” says Nicole Stefenelli, Co-Founder and President of Richmond-based Urban Impact. “We would maintain our commitments regardless, but we have found that we do attract and retain clients and employees in tough economic times directly as a result of our longstanding commitment to social and environmental values and initiatives.”

In the first half of 2009, highlights include but are not limited to a series of Shredathons in conjunction with Vancity; Elementary School Recycling 101 Education Tours, Community Impact Recycling Contributions to Local Charities, and Urban Impact’s renowned Diversion Program for clients.

For the second year in a row, Urban Impact is teaming with Vancity Credit Union to host a series of Shredathons, in which free on-site shredding is provided to anyone who brings materials to the location. In addition, identity theft and fraud prevention education materials are provided, and the RCMP Fraud Prevention team is on site to educate and answer questions. The Shredathons have proven to be a huge success and after the first few have gotten underway this spring, numerous more are scheduled across the Lower Mainland over the summer.

“People bring boxes and boxes of old tax returns, old bookkeeping items and files that they don’t want to recycle because the files include potentially confidential information,” says Stefenelli. “We’re proud to say we’re the only Shredding company in the lower mainland which recycles our shredded materials for our clients as part of the service package.”
Urban Shredding’s signature on-site shredding machine is kind of like a huge wood-chipper-like truck that grinds through paper quickly and makes it completely illegible. The shredded material gets recycled in an Urban Recycling truck.

In two recent Shredathons, Urban Impact has provided free shredding and recycling services to more than 600 Lower Mainland residents, shredded and recycled 12,000Kg of material, and helped to generate nearly $3000 of donations for local Vancity-selected charities.

In April and through June 2009, Urban Impact generously funded the costs to bring numerous elementary school classes from Richmond and Delta schools to the company’s recycling headquarters for hands-on Recycling 101 Education Tours. The reception has been excellent and accordingly, Urban Impact plans to expand this program in the fall of 2009 significantly by inviting classes from elementary schools across the Lower Mainland to participate. Comments from the students include:

“I learned a lot about how much paper and cardboard we used a year… You’re not just business business business but you try to get people to stop wasting paper…”

“I learned a lot about how recycling plants work, and also a lot about how one person can have such an impact
environmentally…this fieldtrip has made me and hopefully my classmates more aware…”

“My legs got a little tired. I also found it a little boring.”

“I love the Earth and I will try my best not to waste paper or anything else.”

Every year, Urban Impact commits the equivalent of 1% of our annual pre-tax profit to assist Lower Mainland charities by providing free recycling and office paper shredding services as an in-kind contribution. This helps reduce the waste disposal and operating costs of participating charities, allowing them to use their scarce funds to do what they do best – help others.

Urban Impact has donated a total of $42,000 of recycling services to local charities in 2009. For a complete list of the charities, please visit

Every year, Urban Impact presents Certificates of Diversion to each of its clients, indicating the volume of material that that client diverted from landfills as a result of recycling with Urban Impact.

Urban Impact believes that a commitment to the health of the planet is the responsibility of all people and businesses.
These conservation habits reflect our commitment to reducing the environmental impacts of our business. We work with companies to help them replicate environmental “best practices” like these in their own day-to-day operations.

  • We calculate the carbon footprint of our operations, including all fuel and utilities used to run our vehicles, offices and warehouses, and even our employees’ commuting distances. We offset this carbon footprint through our annual “Plant One Here” tree planting campaign.
  • State-of-the-art lubricants and oils are used in servicing all vehicles, while biodegradable soap is used to wash all collection vehicles. Invoices are printed on paper that is 100% Post Consumer Waste (PCW), certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, processed chlorine free, acid free and Green-e certified.
  • Our comprehensive in house recycling program means we throw out less than .05% of what we receive and collect. Discounted pricing encourages customers to use scheduled service so that customer pickups are accommodated in a routed and efficient fashion. E-billing and quarterly billing reduces paper use, postage costs, processing costs by 3 times. We compost our staff’s lunch materials for use it in our warehouse and entrance gardens.
  • A bank of rain barrels captures the rainwater from our warehouse roof (40,000 square feet of roof), which will be used to clean our vehicles. We audit our power consumption both in the office and warehouse.
  • Urban Impact allocates several hours per week for our staff members to clean up in our neighborhood, picking up garbage and debris in front of our facility and on the dyke behind our facility along the Fraser River and we feel it is important to contribute back by make sure our foot print is clean and tidy. Urban Impact also planted 200 shrubs and trees along the south fence line of our property with the vision of providing native trees species habit, shelter for the local wildlife.

Urban Impact is a family-owned and operated business committed to environmental conservation and global responsibility. Last year the Richmond, BC-based was named one of the best employers in the province by BC Business Magazine.

Our Story

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 4500 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 recycled.

Today, a combined staff of over 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.



Marina Percy
604.736.9707 or