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Is Creating a Reusable Coffee Cup a Planet Saver or a Mug’s Game? Wells



Andrew Brooks isn’t the first business person to gaze upon his years of entrepreneurial obsession and think: “I wish I could go back in time and meet myself and say, ‘Don’t do this.’”

By “this” he means his determination to redesign those bulky, environmentally friendly, reusable coffee mugs into a collapsible, tuck-it-in-your-pocket version. “What the world seems to need is a reusable cup that’s easy to carry around,” he says on the phone from the U.K., where there’s growing uproar over the mountains of single use, throwaway coffee cups that are not recycled.

Perhaps, Brooks surmised, a cup that collapsed when not in use could help wean consumers from their habit of buying their takeout coffee in polyethylene-lined paper cups, the vast majority of which end up in landfill.

Four years ago Brooks was in Tofino (he’s a Canadian citizen), where his mind wandered from a fishing holiday to thoughts of logging. Most consumers are unaware that their takeaway coffee cups resist recycling because of their impermeable lining. Most consumers would be equally surprised to learn that the paper cup itself is commonly made from virgin fibre. In the U.K. it is estimated that 2.5 billion coffee cups are tossed into the trash annually. The high quality fibre demanded in their manufacture equates to the felling of 100,000 trees.

In a recent piece in the Guardian, a professor of materials resources engineering at Imperial College London estimated that the plastic liner could take about 30 years to break down, and even that was a guess because, he told the Guardian, “nobody has looked at the cup specifically.”

Take the polyethylene out of the equation and you’ve still got a second environmental problem. “In terms of environmental impact the cellulose fibre is potentially more of an issue than the plastic,” Chris Cheeseman told the paper. “This could take 18 months to two years to start to break down and then it produces methane gas, which is probably not collected.”

In Toronto, the true size of the latte cup challenge is unknown. The city estimates that 1,300 tonnes of hot beverage cups are managed through the waste stream annually, but that figure is drawn from an audit of multi-residential and single family waste management numbers. Asked for the industrial side of the equation, a spokesperson informs that Solid Waste provides collection for only about 14,500 small businesses.

Has there been a full audit of all waste collection? Not that I can find. According to the spokesperson, under the province’s new Waste-Free Ontario Act “staff will be working with the Province to determine if and how hot drink coffee cups can be added to municipal blue bin programs.”

For Andrew Brooks, a recyclable paper cup is not the answer — and the technological struggles experienced in the U.K. by companies attempting to separate the lining from the cup in recycling support this view. A summertime episode of the hugely popular U.K. series Hugh’s War on Waste, hosted by chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, reported that the recycling effects were miniscule.

So Brooks set his sights on nothing less than behavioural change. What if he could create a reusable cup that actually held consumer appeal? The existing versions are great if you’re driving, he says. “But if you’re in a big city and you’re commuting, the Shanghais, the New Yorks, the Londons of this world, the reusables aren’t the best.”

He didn’t expect it would take years to develop the Pokito, a cup made of synthesized rubber that adjusts to three sizes and smacks flat when not in use. He recalls a canoe trip through Algonquin Park, and how when he tested an early iteration of the cup, it was too hot to handle around the middle. So that meant reworking the middle band, which meant retooling, an expensive 18-month setback. The engineering meant reworking not millimetres of material, but tenths of a millimetre.There was a great deal of trial and error involved.

“We must have trialled 15 or 20 different materials,” he says. It had to be odourless, safe and able to withstand that British cuppa made with boiling water. The result, he says, is stable, insulated, attractive and incredibly durable.

The Pokito is colourful and fun — and Brooks has placed them in a few London coffee shops. He’s hoping to launch on Kickstarter soon, looking to raise $25,000 or so, to get the Pokito into production.

Of course it’s a gamble. And of course there have been moments when he wondered whether it’s been worth it. But as Brooks points out, change is going to come. For the sake of the planet, it has to.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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