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Green Coast Rubbish takes out the trash—sustainably

Green Coast Rubbish

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Once I met with Vancity, our fees were cut in half. They’ve given us a lot of support and most importantly, share our passion for sustainable local communities. Eamonn Duignan, Green Coast Rubbish co-founder

When Green Coast Rubbish co-founder Eamonn Duignan was still a kinesiology student working part-time in the junk removal business, he got a front-row view of the unsustainable, landfill-packing practices that dominated the industry. It was enough to spur Eamonn and his brother, Cein Duignan, to start their own part-time junk removal company in North Vancouver while attending university. The new business, Green Coast Rubbish, emphasized waste diversion and recycling instead of shortcuts and the bottom line.

That was in 2006. Now Green Coast Rubbish is a recognized leader in the field, with three trucks, four full-time employees, several part-time employees, and a host of green partnerships that helped it divert 402 tonnes of waste from landfills in 2013—an astonishing 76 per cent diversion rate.

In 2013 Green Coast was recognised with the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for blending financial success with a strong commitment to positive environmental outcomes and was voted Best Green Business by newspaper, North Shore Outlook. In 2012 the company was one of three winners of the Vancity Community Impact Investment award. Not bad for a business started with little available time and some ads in the local paper.

“I put a few ads in the paper and the work kind of came to me,” says Eamonn. “During that period the business grew organically, and by the time I finished my degree the demand was there.”

As Green Coast grew, so did the public’s appetite for environmentally friendly disposal services. “When I started the business seven years ago, there weren’t any disposal companies with our focus, but today I can name half a dozen,” says Eamonn. “I think that’s the future. Landfill space is becoming a premium.”

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A big part of what makes Green Coast so effective is its partnerships. Over time Green Coast has built a network and a system for diverting various materials that other junk removal companies would simply throw away—from beds to carpets to furniture—and Eamonn sees that system expanding all the time, in some cases even becoming the norm in the industry.

“When I first started in the industry, at my job the motto was ‘Pick up the waste and throw it out.’ It included cardboard. It included e-waste. There were minimal restrictions. But today, restrictions are increasing. People are realizing there's value in these materials and in their reuse potential.”

As a small local business with a big environmental impact, Green Coast was a natural fit with Vancity. Dissatisfied with a larger bank that lacked a small-business focus, Green Coast switched to the credit union and never looked back.

“Once I met with Vancity, our fees were cut in half,” says Eamonn. “They’ve given us a lot of support and most importantly, share our passion for sustainable local communities.”

Beyond providing the business with an operating line of credit, Vancity also supplied a vehicle loan for a new truck, increasing Green Coast’s capacity and helping the business to expand.

“Eamonn’s passion really shines through,” says Mike Harris, Vancity small-business specialist. “He really wants to make sure that his business is making a difference, and he's very much about connecting with the local community around these issues. His impact is going to make a big difference.”


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