Councillor Graham Parsons examines a small bag of fluff that was once municipal waste. Fogdog Energy wants to build a converter in Sylvan Lake to make all its municipal waste into this fluff, that can also be burned, and sold, as a clean energy use. Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News

Company wants to end landfills, beginning in Sylvan Lake

Fogdog is a company that claims to convert solid waste into a renewable energy

Sylvan Lake may soon be taking out the trash – permanently.

Calgary-based Fogdog Energy presented a business plan to Sylvan Lake town council on Monday in the hopes of making the municipality greener.

Currently Sylvan Lake ships its waste to the Red Deer landfill. The company is proposing the town partner with the company and keep the waste in the town and convert it into a more sustainable resource.

The company uses a waste converter to convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into a material they call “fluff,” which is sold as an energy source that burns cleaner than coal, ” said Fogdog’s Marlon Lee.

The proposal includes using a modular converter that can take upwards of 50 tonnes of unsorted waste and convert it into the sterile fluff, per day.

Currently Sylvan Lake produces roughly 15 tonnes of waste each day.

“We want to be able to continue supporting the municipality as it grows in the summer,” Lee said.

As the town continues to grow in population another converter can be added as the need arises.

The process and design of the convert comes from Europe, where many municipalities already have the process in place.

Michael Beaudin, business development officer for Fogdog, told council Canada is about 10 years behind the times when it comes to landfills and waste management.

European nations are quite small and do not have the space for expansive landfills, which is just one reason why such a technology was developed, he said.

The representatives told council going landfill-free with Fogdog will save the municipality money, while creating a greener waste management system.

“You will save around $500,000 a year in transportation costs, because you won’t have to transport your waste to the landfill in Red Deer,” said Lee.

Along with the saved cost on transportation, the town could also save money on green bins.

The process proposed by Fogdog does not need sorting, as it recycles nearly 100 per cent of all waste products. With the converter technology proposed, the green recycling bins would no longer be needed.

“We are recycling all of it, not just some, and turning it into a renewable energy source,” said Beaudin.

“I’ve had people claim without the green bins we would actually be creating more waste, but we aren’t. Simply because the waste will all be diverted and made into something much cleaner that won’t clog up our air or oceans.”

Lee and Beaudin said the converters can convert any waste including medical waste, household waste and even tires. No only does it create a renewable resource, they claim it is also done cleanly without any emissions.

“It doesn’t matter what is in it, we can process it,” Lee said.

No decisions were made at council on Monday. Administration will now create a report for council on the proposed project.

Town CAO Betty Osmond said she isn’t sure how long that process could take.

“There is a lot to go over, and a lot to discuss, it could take a little while to come up with the report,” she said.

At the moment it is hard to say which way the town is leading, says Osmond, as there is a lot to consider – such as the promise of creating more jobs.

If Fogdog is given the green light by council, the project could six months to set up, and be operational in the seventh month.

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