3M Environmental Innovation Award
Making a difference
through innovative
environmental solutions


2011 Winner - Michel Séguin

Michel Séguin stands in front of a line of products displaying the Go Eco sticker, reminding customers the packaging is recyclable. (Photo courtesy Michel Séguin)

Reduce, recycle, retail?
Retail savvy runs through Michel Séguin’s blood. He is an independent Canadian Tire dealer in Laval, Que., whose father Gilles once owned a Canadian Tire store. Both father and son also share a deep conviction about what retail can do to preserve the environment. Gilles founded the Environment Committee for the Association des marchands Canadian Tire du Québec in 1982; under his leadership, Canadian Tire stores started taking back used automotive oil for proper disposal in 1992. Now his son, who has chaired the same committee for the past 11 years, has spearheaded an ambitious environmental program that has been adopted by all 98 Canadian Tire stores in Quebec.

Launched last May, the Go Eco program aims to increase customer awareness of the importance of recycling and properly disposing of automotive products, such as used oil, fi ters and batteries, anti-freeze and plastic containers, so that they don’t end up in landfi lls and waterways. It builds on existing recycling initiatives in the chain’s automotive centres, says Séguin, by engaging consumers and do-it-yourself mechanics.

For example, Go Eco labels prominently displayed on all oil and antifreeze containers, oil-filter packaging and aerosol cans remind customers to return used oil or empty containers to their nearest store. Sounds simple, but the stickers are effective: after a three-month test run in 10 stores in 2010, the number of plastic oil containers returned for recycling rose by 19 percent and the number of returned aerosol cans jumped by 35 percent.

“We’re pleased that our promotional materials and in-store signage are encouraging customers to contribute to the take-back program,” says Séguin, whose initiative has earned him the 2011 3M Environmental Innovation Award, presented by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society and 3M Canada.

Go Eco also strives for 100 percent recycling and responsible disposal of products used in Canadian Tire automotive centres. Packaging and waste have been reduced through bulk purchases of oil, antifreeze and windshield-washer fluid. The list of recyclables is growing, including all scrap metal, air filters and even windshield wiper blades. The program promotes regular maintenance of vehicles to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

The success of the Go Eco formula in Quebec has caught the attention of Canadian Tire owners accross the country. Séguin has recently been invited to speak to Ottawaarea retailers and to sit on a national environmental committee of Canadian Tire dealers. “If Go Eco snowballs into the other provinces, we will be doubly proud of this program that got its start in Quebec,” says Séguin. “It would be the jewel in our crown.”

Monique Roy-Sole


3M Canada

Canadian Geographic

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