GI Grow

GI Grow addresses the question of integrating closed-loop recycling options into green infrastructure by suggesting recycled materials that can be incorporated during construction. GI Grow discusses ecological and economic benefits of the proposed materials, promotes community engagement, and has created a bioswale model and physical prototype of a recycled tree watering bag to demonstrate parts of the closed-loop supply chain.




Humanities and Social Sciences


ENVS 2100


  • Drew Egan
  • Mike Smith-Cairns

City of Vancouver:

  • Brad Badelt

Student Team:

  • Genevieve Paris-Griffiths
  • Emily Crowley
  • Owen Griffith
  • Enora Oldfield


  • Rain City Strategy



Currently, there is no specification in Vancouver for constructing green infrastructure with recycled materials. In 2020, Metro Vancouver reported that construction and demolition waste was the largest proportion for the functional waste category. G.I. Grow suggests recycling parts of this waste by incorporating it into green infrastructure. We chose to look at bioswales as they are very easy to implement in urban settings, making them one of the most scalable forms of green infrastructure – but this project easily applies to other forms as well. By using recycled concrete as drainage aggregate, compost as soil, and recycled wood as mulch, for example, we would divert waste from landfill and offset emissions and costs. G.I. Grow also takes the impacts of climate change into consideration. The young trees in new bioswales may need support to offset increasing drought effects. We constructed a physical prototype of a tree watering bag made of recycled billboard vinyl. This further promotes the concept of a closed-loop supply chain; re-integrating used resources back into our environment and eliminating the need for newly constructed materials. We tested it out, and it works just as well as a non-recycled bag! Considering G.I. Grow aligns with the goals of Vancouver’s Rain City Strategy, we believe it would be an innovative addition to strategies already being implemented. G.I. Grow also aims to engage with members of Vancouver’s community who want to exercise their green thumb. By creating an “Adopt a Bioswale” extension of the City’s existing “Adopt a Catch Basin” program, community members can partake in the upkeep and maintenance of bioswales throughout the city. G.I. Grow demonstrates the feasibility, viability and importance of incorporating recycled materials into green infrastructure, as well as generates community engagement and promotes the benefits of a closed-loop recycling system.

{{ reviewsTotal }}{{ options.labels.singularReviewCountLabel }}
{{ reviewsTotal }}{{ options.labels.pluralReviewCountLabel }}
{{ options.labels.newReviewButton }}
{{ userData.canReview.message }}

Related projects

Rental Unit Emissions Report Card: Helping Renters Reduce their Carbon Footprint


Our project supports the City of Vancouver's efforts to reduce carbon emissions by...

Leisure Access Program


Our program mainly focuses on solving the problems of the Leisure Access Program...

Visualizing Climate Action


Visualizing Climate Action targets Vancouverites’ values by installing displays in Vancouver’s most scenic...