At October’s Small Business Awards during Small Business Week, hosted by the Calgary Chamber, green shredding company Pulp Shred took home the CPA Alberta Social Entrepreneurship Award. With a focus on being a greener alternative, the company is looking to change the shredding industry for the better while still maintaining privacy and professionalism.
The triple bottom line
Ankur Mahajan, co-founder and CEO of Pulp Shred, started the company with his business partner Ken Waddell in 2018, during Calgary’s economic downturn, and leading into the Covid pandemic. But seeing the need for a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional shredding, the two forged a path forward.
“Covid has had—and continues to have—a drastic impact on businesses and individuals,” says Mahajan. “If anything, these past years have taught us to be even more resilient and creative with our limited resources.”
Pulp Shred is founded on a triple bottom line philosophy:
· Value services: data security, destruction, and profitability
· Social contributions: community involvement, fundraising, local business
“All three are intrinsic parts of our company DNA and value proposition,” says Mahajan. “I’m blessed to work with some amazing people who are hardworking, understand the value of great customer service, and are dedicated to our greener vision.”
It ain’t easy being green
Pulp Shred’s tagline is a greener alternative, continuously looking to improve their greener vision and ethos.
“To say one is green is finite and frankly not possible. Being environmentally friendly is a conscious choice and a continuous journey, not a destination. We believe in continuously improving and delivering the best possible experience to our customers while constantly seeking greener ways to run our operations and deliver our success.”
By the numbers, Pulp Shred has processed and recycled over 400 tonnes of shredded paper and cardboard, saving nearly 7,200 mature trees from being cut, freeing over 1,600 cubic yards of landfill space and over 1,800 trade in embodied carbon dioxide.
“Additionally, we have raised thousands of dollars for local charities for our Community Shred Events,” adds Mahajan. “It gives me immense satisfaction that, in our own little way, we are contributing toward the sustainability of our beautiful city.”
Combining a greener vision with the highest standards
Although Pulp Shred does great things for the environment and the community, Mahajan is well aware that providing an excellent service is what is of utmost importance. As an innovative data security, destruction, and recycling company, privacy and ease of experience are top of mind.
“People’s privacy, secure processes, and a tight chain of custody are foundational aspects of our business,” says Mahajan. “We bring a new way of meeting customers’ privacy requirements without compromising the environment.”
Pulp Shred is also pushing for new technologies to achieve all goals at once. They’ve developed an innovative, proprietary video verification software, to keep tight privacy guidelines while achieving their greener vision.
“This unique, made-in-Calgary technology provides customers the ability to remotely view their shredding process without harming the environment. Combined with our in-house barcode asset management, tracking, and reporting system, we ensure a tight chain of custody, providing tracking, date, and time stamping at every touchpoint.”
A tiny company against global giants
As a proud member of the Calgary Chamber, Mahajan is humbled to have received the CPA Alberta Social Entrepreneurship Award in October.
“I was stoked that over 140 entries came in, that we were then shortlisted, and then finally the winner,” says Mahajan, celebrating the Calgary business community and hyping up other finalists such as Included by Design. “This is validation that whatever we’re doing, it resonates. We didn’t have to do something that’s not authentic to have people recognize us.”
Mahajan is aware of the challenges but is pushing onward. “As a tiny little company, we’re up against global giants, but I told my team: Maybe next time, we’ll be coming for Business of the Year!”
In the short-term, Pulp Shred wants to create more awareness, embed themselves further in the Calgary business community—finding more recurring customers, taking their share of the market, and building their brand further.
The bigger, long-term goals: Anything is possible. Mahajan touches on all the many concept projects they’re working on with their recycled materials, and the many unusual items they’re also able to process. But this greener alternative could go much further.
“My goal is to take our little compact shredding brick-and-mortar company with unique tech and start franchising,” says Mahajan. “Maybe we’ll set up a facility in Edmonton, maybe we’ll set up a franchise, but the goal is around growth.”