A group of businesswomen are making powerful strides towards a more sustainable future at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet

Renowned Vancouver Island hotel, the Black Rock Ocean Resort, is rolling out a zero-waste program, committing to sourcing 100 percent natural, biodegradable and refillable products for cleaning and guest amenities at the resort by the end of 2021. The team members behind this initiative are already well on their way to achieving this goal, with in-room amenities, paper programs, cleaning supplies and products already being waste-free.

The initiative is being spearheaded by Black Rock’s general manager Adele Larkin, who shared with Environment 911 that the shift reflects how the team feels about the natural environment and their desire to protect the rainforest and ocean.

The pandemic has been a challenging time for many industries, hospitality being one of them, and many have put a pause on operations while the tourism sector has been in limbo. Larkin shares that instead of going into hibernation, Black Rock took this time as an opportunity to “double down on sustainability and community.”

Black Rock’s zero-waste program is made possible through a partnership with local businesses The Den, a zero-waste refillery and Mint Cleaning, an eco-friendly cleaning supplier—both of which are female-owned. The commitment stemmed from a simple brainstorming session between colleagues and community members on what they could do to better protect the environment, while still providing safe, healthy and quality products for guests and teams along the way.

Larkin shares that it is inspiring to “be able to work with two businesses owned and operated by incredibly talented women who are constantly looking at ways to improve the world we live in and how we live in it.”

Mint CleaningRobyn and Monica of Mint Cleaning located in Ucluelet, B.C.

While it’s fantastic to see these women fighting the battle against plastic pollution at such an iconic resort, many other businesses are not quite there yet, and Larkin does consider Black Rock to be an “early adopter” in the zero-waste process.

She explains that the shift is not difficult, but it does quite a significant amount of patience. Staff needs to be re-trained, and team members must be flexible and prepared to roll with the changes. Many communities don’t have access to refilleries like Black Rock does. Furthermore, the cost of switching towards refillables and reusables tends to be more expensive, at least at the start of the process, due to the limited number of supplies in the zero-waste space.

Ultimately, Black Rock has seen their transition towards zero waste being met with only interest and enthusiasm, and the long-term benefits will outweigh any challenges of the transition, which hopefully will inspire more businesses to follow suit.