Lofty goals 

Slope Side Supply embraces sustainability but finds there’s no quick and easy answers

Slope Side Supply co-owner Tony Horn is the first to admit his business is not sustainable.

The local company sells cleaning products, detergents, paper and foam coffee cups and then they truck these products around town to about 400 hotels and restaurants.

But this hasn’t stopped Horn and his co-owner David Krasny to strive towards sustainability.

"The products that we sell aren’t necessarily great for the environment but that doesn’t mean we can’t be sustainable," said Horn.

"We’re dealing with it in the best possible way we can."

When sustainability became the buzzword around town a few years back, it caught the attention of the two young Whistler businessmen who are originally from Montreal.

Eight years ago when they started Slope Side Supply they tried to find products that were environmentally benign.

"We thought well, we live here so we should do the best things we can for our town. There’s some responsibility there," said Horn.

They always offered their clients garbage bags that were 100 per cent recycled, most of their toilet paper was also 100 per cent recycled. And among their product line was a bleach replacement called Awesome Green that was easier on the environment.

"We always had a pseudo-environmental bent," said Horn.

Then Whistler gave them a golden opportunity to join others in the community and fall in line with The Natural Step.

They were ready to jump on board. They just needed a formula and some guidelines to follow.

"How do we make Slope Side Supply follow The Natural Step?" they asked.

But they soon found out that there was no quick and easy answer.

"We learned that in the whole sustainability thing there is no blueprint," said Horn.

"No one can tell you what’s right or wrong."

And so, they set out to find out for themselves by researching the products they sold, talking to manufacturers and learning about new product lines.

First they began with an internal audit at Slope Side, looking at ways the company could be more sustainable.

They introduced recycling bins in the office for cans and glass. They started two-sided photocopying and they discovered that they could recycle all their shrink wrap packaging.

They were recycling about 20 bags a week in shrink wrap alone.

They didn’t have to do much however, to temper their energy usage in the building.

As a throwback to the early days when they were trying to save money, they still refuse to turn the heat on the in the winter, nor do they have air conditioning in the summertime.

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