Coast Mountain Bus Company – Environmental Highlights

Coast Mountain Bus Company (CMBC), an operating subsidiary of TransLink, is responsible for bus service operation and maintenance within Metro Vancouver, including the SeaBus ferry service in Vancouver Harbour.  Numerous environmental programs have been developed to reduce or eliminate the environmental impacts of CMBC’s operations. With corporate support, innovative ideas brought forward by CMBC employees have resulted in some great environmental success stories.  

Operator Uniform Recycling:  

CMBC works with a textile recycling company for collection and processing of our used operator (bus driver) uniforms. The initiative began with the local environmental committee at Vancouver Transit Centre.  Because CMBC operator uniforms have company logos embroidered onto them, the pieces cannot be donated for security reasons. The previous practice was to cut out the logos and send the rest of the fabric to landfill. The idea was to reduce waste by having non-wearable uniform items (i.e. those with logos cut out of them) processed into rags instead of sending them to landfill.

Clothing donation bins are placed at CMBC transit centres. The recycling company picks up all items collected in the bins and processes them by separating out uniform pieces with logos that are sent to the rag-cutting side of their operation. The logos are cut out and destroyed. The remaining fabric is cut and sorted into various rag types which are packaged for sale. All wearable clothing without logos is sorted and packaged for sale in the used clothing market. CMBC has a designated charity which is paid by weight for the amount of useable clothing that is collected in the bins. 

Maintenance Campaigns:

Maintenance campaigns often generate a large amount of “one-off” waste.By using established stewardship programs or working with local recyclers, wastes generated from maintenance campaigns are recycled whenever possible.

Recent examples include an electronic component which was replaced on the buses and recycled through the Electronics Stewardship Association of BC program. Bus operator seats also required replacement as part of a maintenance campaign. The seats are largely composed of foam and fabric and were suitable for recycling into carpet underlay. CMBC worked with our private recycling contractor for collection of the bus seats in mega bags.

Water Conservation:

CMBC uses a cleaning system for bus interiors that utilizes microfiber cloths and sweepers rather than hoses and mops. This system uses significantly less water and detergents; a single bus requires less than two litres of water to be cleaned. Additionally, after the bus has been cleaned there is no need to idle for drying purposes.

CMBC also uses water recycling systems for exterior bus washing at all maintenance facilities. The amount of water used for washing buses is reduced by up to 75% with the wash water recycling systems. Fresh water is used for the final rinse only.

In addition, in 2015, CMBC implemented an environmental management procedure to reduce bus washing to conserve water in response to seasonal water restrictions within Metro Vancouver. CMBC voluntarily reduces bus washing from June 1st to September 30th each year. Bus washing is reduced by 50% or more by washing half the fleet each day as weather and safety permits. Anytime Metro Vancouver implements Stage 2 water restrictions, CMBC voluntarily ceases all bus washing, except where needed for safety (e.g. windshields, lights). 


These are great Initatives but seem trivial compared to the impact of vehicle emissions. What progress there?

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