Interview with Marnie at MindYourMind

A big thank you to Mind Your Mind for interviewing us!

Forest City Waste's Leila Nattagh

By Marnie 15/07/2019

I was interested in learning about different programs in our community that care about the environment and want to make a powerful impact. Leila Nattagh tells us about her company Forest City Waste and how they are assisting businesses to re-evaluate the way they deal with waste and recycling. Leila also gives us tips on what we can do in our own households to be more cognisant when using products. Thank you Leila for taking the time to share with mindyourmind! 

Can you tell us about Forest City Waste?

We are independent waste consultants working to help businesses reduce their costs related to waste and recycling services. We do this through efficiency programs, diversion programs, and rate negotiations with their current hauler. 

How did this business start and why in London?

In my previous job, I was heavily focused on all things waste. I worked at a non-profit where I was tasked with keeping track of landfill diversion rates, finding homes for the items that could not be sold, doing waste audits, monitoring invoices, and looking for efficiencies wherever I could. In my time there, I was able to increase landfill diversion rate (% of garbage NOT going into the landfill) by 35%. After leaving my employer, I decided to do consulting and waste consulting seemed like a natural transition. 

What is a “waste audit” and how does it help a business save money and help the environment?

A waste audit is looking at a 24-hour sample of the waste that a business produces. The waste is weighed and analyzed to determine the amount, nature, and composition of waste produced. 

What would a reduction plan outline?

A reduction plan is born out of a waste audit. Based on what your audit reveals, the recommendations in the reduction plan are focused on landfill diversion. Say, if the audit reveals that 25% of your waste output is cardboard, our reduction plan proposes that you explore ways of recycling this so it doesn't end up in our landfills. As well, costs associated with garbage pickups will be reduced by 25% since the volume is lowered. 

How does the environment/climate change impact our mental health in today’s society?

Our environment affects our mental health more than one might think. On a local-level, if the ecosystems around you are deteriorating, you will notice. Green spaces are being replaced with highways and subdivisions, natural sounds are replaced with traffic, and the air quality suffers. On a global scale, there's been a lot of uncertainty with regard to the future of climate change.  What happens when the temperature increase 2 degrees and the sea level rises. News like this can really create an unsettling feeling in everyone, thereby reducing mental wellness. 

The Canadian government is going to ban single-use plastic by 2021. Is this too big of a problem to solve and will it actually happen?

I think the ban will happen but I don’t know if it is the solution that we need.