| Posted: Saturday, Oct 13, 2012 06:00 am
City tops for waste cuts
St. Albert has won a provincial award for its efforts to make less waste.
The City of St. Albert received an Rs of Excellence Award from the Recycling Council of Alberta on Oct. 4. The award, announced by the city this week, recognizes the city’s leadership in the field of waste reduction.
The recycling council is a non-profit group that promotes waste reduction in Alberta. St. Albert received an award in the municipal program category.
St. Albert has made great strides with its waste in recent years, says Christina Seidel, the council’s executive director, and is now keeping a very high proportion of its waste out of the landfill — about 65.9 per cent, at last report. “You are now pushing the envelope to be one of the highest performing communities in the province.”
Seidel credits St. Albert’s curbside recycling and composting program for keeping the city’s diversion rate high. Most communities focus on recyclables when it comes to waste, she notes, while ignoring the compostable kitchen and yard waste that makes up some 52 per cent of residential trash. “If you ignore the organics, you’re not going to get high diversion.”
The city’s pay-as-you-throw system helps as well, Seidel adds, as it gives people a financial incentive to make less waste.
The award itself is a recycled circuit-board cut in the shape of Alberta with a recycling logo cut in the middle mounted on a chunk of recyclable aluminium, says St. Albert solid waste programs co-ordinator Christian Benson, who accepted the award on the city’s behalf.
This award recognizes St. Albert as a provincial leader in waste reduction, says Mayor Nolan Crouse, and city residents should be proud of their accomplishments. “I think when it all shakes out, we’re going to have one of the highest diversion rates in Alberta.”
But St. Albert still has about a third of its waste left to take care of, Crouse notes, and that’s going to be a tough nut to crack.
The city has to do more to target the commercial, institutional and construction/demolition sectors, Benson says. “It’s tough for a municipality to get at those sectors,” he said but they’re already making progress with local schools. The city has also brought blue bag recycling to all of its buildings, and is now piloting organic recycling at the public works yard.
This award was the result of years of hard work by city residents and staff, Benson says. “These programs only really work if you have a committed base of residents, and we do.”
The city will go online with waste-preventing tips next week to celebrate Waste Reduction Week, Benson says.
City residents who dive into a carpool this month might resurface with prizes.
Oct. 22 to 26 is Carpool Week in Alberta, says city environmental co-ordinator Kalen Pilkington, and the city hopes residents will try carpooling this month using Carpool.ca, a regional website sponsored by the city.
“Every day in Canada there are actually over 30 million empty seats going to work,” Pilkington says, citing research done by Carpool.ca, because so many people drive alone. Carpooling not only reduces traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions, but it can also make for a less stressful commute by giving drivers a conversation partner.
Residents can use Carpool.ca to find people to drive with, share carpool stories, and track transportation savings, Pilkington says. Those that do will be entered into a draw for iPads, free gas and more.
The city will also be testing a car-pool-only parking spot for city staff downtown, Pilkington says. If the idea catches on, the city will look into adding public car-pool spots in the future.
Residents have all October to sign up, Pilkington says. Visit carpool.ca for details.