Red Deer County moves forward with garbage to energy proposal

Rather than transport waste some 200 kms east, Red Deer County is considering turning garbage into energy.

Environmental Services manager Andrew Treu said Tuesday that about 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes of waste are transferred every year from the county to a landfill outside of the county.

“We’re constantly looking for better ideas on how to deal with our garbage locally, knowing we don’t have our own landfill,” Treu said.

“It’s not only about the cost, but anything we can do to perhaps do something greener with our garbage rather than landfill.”

Seeking a request for proposal, the county wanted to look at what methods, ideas, technologies or processes it could use to reduce the volume of garbage being transferred at the Horn Hill Waste Transfer Station to landfills.

At their meeting, council approved developing a memorandum of understanding with WastAway to pursue a program for converting municipal solid waste into energy.

WastAway Services Canada, based in Sherwood Park, outlined a technology-based approach in their pitch outlining how they would convert waste into fuels, which could then be sold to market.

However, council and administration will have to weigh the costs of transporting the garbage out of the county against the costs of converting municipal solid waste into energy.

“There’s a long road ahead of us to go from where we are now, which is just concepts, to what would be an actual project,” said Treu.

County Coun. Philip Massier said the idea of turning waste into fuel was wonderful, but worried about the cost.

County Manager Curtis Herzberg said the memorandum of understanding does not relate to cost or budget, it outlines what the partnership between the county and the company could look like. Any financial decisions will be brought before council at a future meeting.

“It’s exciting, we’ve had many attempts at this in the past,” said County Mayor Jim Wood. “The idea of it going forward would be great for us, but the numbers need to work.”

Coun. Christine Moore, who was teleconferenced in for the council meeting, said it was a good day for the county approving the move.

“It’s something we’ve been worked towards for a long time, before I came to council,” said Moore. “We’re showing ourselves as leaders.”

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