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Council tables aggressive waste plan

An aggressive 10-year action plan to reduce the amount of waste ending up in the landfill was tabled in city council chambers on Monday.

By adopting the plan, city would commit to a 2023 target of 500 kg from 817 kg or 40 per cent reduction in waste per-capita.

Red Deerians will have opportunities to have his or her say on the Waste Management Master Plan before council considers first reading later this year.

Janet Whitesell, the city’s waste management superintendent, called the plan aggressive but achievable. Whitesell said the city often hears from residents and businesses who would like to see more programs to reduce waste.

“The plan will only succeed if the public buys in and participates in the programs,” said Whitesell. “Ultimately we were developing a plan for the public. If they are not the ones they want to see, we will need to know that. Of course we think we have come up with a plan that we think they will be happy to see but we definitely need to confirm that.”

The draft plan calls for waste reduction through recycling and diversion initiatives in a phased approach. Strategies will be implemented over 10 years.

One of the key areas is addressing commercial waste. At the moment, the city does not have a clear grasp on the diversion practices in the commercial sector.

One key recommendation is to create a liaison position to work with the commercial sector to introduce the diversion opportunities and to come up with site specific waste reduction plans for their businesses.

Consultant Christina Seidel of Sonnevera International Corp , the company hired to conduct the study and compile a report, called the city’s plan visionary because a lot of municipalities do not look at the commercial sector.

“That’s how they are going to be able to achieve those large reductions is because they are not just looking at the residential sector but as the waste stream as whole,” said Seidel.

In 2011, 74,622 tonnes of waste were disposed at the Red Deer Waste Management Facility landfill. This translates to a disposal rate of 817 kg per capita compared to a Canadian average of 777 kg per capita and to a provincial average of 1,122 kg per capita (Statistics Canada, 2010). According to the report, the largest components of the residential waste stream are organic waste (37 per cent), paper products (20 per cent) and plastics (12 per cent).

The first Waste Management Plan was developed in 1992 and updated in 1998 and 2005. In early 2012, Sonnevera International Corp was hired to overhaul the plan.

Proposed initiatives:

• Enhanced curbside recycling including a residential blue cart collection program and expanded range of plastics.

• Implementation of a year-long pilot of expanded residential organics collection to include food waste and soiled paper and testing combined yard and food waste.

• Combined pilot of bi-weekly garbage collection with expanded organics pilot.

• Start an industrial, commercial and institutional waste reduction food waste collection program including promotion and education materials and staff training at participating businesses.

• Conduct a feasibility study to determine technology, size and location of an Organics process facility in Red Deer.

• Creating differential tipping fees for waste.

crhyno@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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