We had an exciting time during our 9th Carbon Cleanse Challenge, which took place between the 2nd and the 27th of October, 2023! This exciting annual competition encourages our member organizations and their employees to engage in simple, fun tasks that reduce environmental impact. It is also a great way to boost employee engagement; over 400 employees across 19 organizations participated in the competition this year! 

The participants were challenged weekly on themes of energy, transportation, waste, and water through various assignments and trivia. Points were earned by completing activities, and bonuses were assigned for company-wide participation and special tasks.

What’s more, for the first time ever, there were prizes to give away before, during and after the competition, thanks to our wonderful sponsors: Bruce Power, Downtown Kitchener BIA, Uptown Waterloo BIA and Gifted.

The competition was fierce, but AET came in first with 10,650 points. They had three potlucks during the cleanse and even submitted a list of vegan and vegetarian recipes!  AET completed several ongoing challenges, and had company-wide participation in most activities for bonus points. They even organized a clean-up during waste week and finished things up with a waste audit.

WRCF came in second with 7725 points, leading the way with the highest number of social media tags.

They raked in bonus points for having full team participation in Meatless Monday and Transformation Tuesday challenges. All in addition to completing some of the ongoing and extra challenges like taking a team walk, riding an e-scooter and sharing a well-sorted recycling station. They also had the employee with the shortest shower playlist!

MTE was a very close third with 7525 points. They got bonus points for sharing great ideas about their ongoing and upcoming sustainability practices such as incorporating lower-impact corporate lunches. They accrued many bonus points for employee participation in activities such as carpool karaoke, staying hydrated and completing the water trivia.

This is an interesting switch in winners from last year, and we are happy to see more contenders taking up the challenge.

In the first week of Carbon Cleanse, activities revolved around reducing energy use, and building knowledge of alternative and sustainable energy practices. There were 42 uncooked meals, 20+ lowered thermostats and multiple walks taken with furry friends. More than 10 sustainability-related documentaries were watched across organizations, and just as many podcasts were heard. By eating uncooked meals, riding transit and layering up, we saw that simple habits can make a huge difference to our impact. It was refreshing to see many employees unplug by reading, visiting the gallery, spending time with family, and exercising. 

During transportation week, active transportation and reduced idling were in focus. Local stores in the region and beyond enjoyed visits from participants who walked and biked to their location during the shop/eat local challenge. Well over 150,000 steps were counted during the week for the Wellness Wednesday challenge. By walking, biking, and even singing karaoke while carpooling, it was clear to see that active transportation is not only beneficial to the environment but to our bodies and minds as well.

Aptly timed, Waste Week had some of our favourite submissions featuring upcycled items. With an emphasis on waste reduction through less consumption and waste diversion, there were 57 litterless lunches, 76 zero-waste swaps and 35 donations to local drop-off centres for used items. Team Definity went above and beyond by putting together a team of volunteers to run and promote a company-wide campaign for Waste Reduction Week.

Carbon Cleanse came to an end after Water Week, where the activities shed light on water conservation and efficient water usage. Challenges included having meatless meals, reusing water bottles, staying hydrated and taking shorter showers. During this week, there were 58 meatless meals, 43 attempts at the shortest shower time and 30 completed water trivia. As a bonus, some of the coolest playlists were shared as well.

Congratulations to the top two winners of the cleanse, who got a gift certificate from Little Mushroom Catering and a gift basket from Gifted, respectively.

Special thanks to all the organizations that signed up this year. Carbon Cleanse 2023 was engaging and successful because of you.