Residents of Kneehill, Wheatland and Starland counties may notice something new when they visit the transfer stations to dispose of their household garbage.
The Drumheller and District Solid Waste Management Association has been busy delivering new containers to 18 transfer stations across those regions, which will be used for recycling paper and cardboard.
However, people will need to wait until the end of March before using those new bins. To accommodate the trucks used to pick up the new recycling containers, a new building is being constructed at the Drumheller landfill, its completion is expected by the end of March.
A new supervisor has also been hired to deal with the increased workload, and a request was made for an extra three minimum security inmates to work at the site when the new building is operational.
Although people have already enquired about those new containers, Tammi Nygaard, operations manager at the landfill told The Mail they will need to do a very strong educational campaign closer to the time the containers will become operational to raise awareness.
“I am going to visit the schools, the seniors group, get brochures printed, get the information out through the counties’ newsletters. We think it is going to take us a year, possibly two, until everybody understands and knows what we are doing and trying to accomplish.”
Nygaard further explained, “I want as much of the paper and cardboard taken out of the waste stream and recycled.”
Well aware of the divided opinions on whether recycling is helpful or harmful to the environment due to the added carbon emission from the trucks, Nygaard said, “If you talk to the Recycling Council of Alberta, they will tell you ‘yes, it might cost a little bit on your carbon emission as you are transporting, but the other side of it is, you are not using virgin material, so you are not cutting down trees, you are using less water, less energy, less of everything when you use a recycled product.’...So yes, you may have to transport a little bit farther, you might lose some of your carbon credits on that, but in my opinion, you are still better off to recycle.”
Longer term, there are plans to open up the recycling program to include more than paper and cardboard.
Nygaard is currently working hard on a new solid waste Bylaw.
Some of the new Bylaw’s objectives are to encourage commercial business to recycle their paper fibre and to eliminate non-recyclable waste from being disposed of in the recycling containers from the commercial sector.
“We have commercial businesses that bring their cardboard and their recyclables to us. When they bring them to us, we want them to be clean, we have problems with certain commercial businesses in town that have these compaction units...and what’s happening is, we are getting garbage, rotten meat, metal, etc," said Nygaard.
The Bylaw will also help deal with the public waste disposal side to prevent the public from scavenging recyclables from the containers and to prevent the public from disposing of waste material other than recyclables at the community drop off.
She explained, “Dealing with disposal of the incorrect waste left at community drop off is a huge cost to us and it is a liability. We don’t want paint and chemicals to be left there, it is an environmental hazard.People can bring their paint here to be disposed of free of charge.”
As well as introducing a Bylaw to help deal with the commercial and residential waste disposal and recycling, Nygaard told The Mail they were also considering introducing cameras at the drop off sites.