Tuesday, August 20, 2019

New Release: City Reports Forecast the Future of Waste in Edmonton

On Thursday, August 29, the City's Utility Committee will discuss five reports about the future of waste management in Edmonton.

Of the five reports, Utility Committee will be asked to do the following:

  • Approve proposed changes to single-unit waste set-out
  • Endorse the 25-year Waste Strategy
"Through two rounds of public engagement in the past year, Edmontonians expressed passion for waste management in their city and a strong desire to get it right," said Michael Labrecque, Branch Manager, Waste Services. "The 25-year Waste Strategy and accompanying reports chart a clear path forward within a generation."

Below is a summary of what Edmontonians can expect to see debated at Utility Committee:
  • 25-year Waste Strategy: Charts a broad course for managing waste and increasing diversion through a variety of actions aligned with a Zero Waste Framework, and ceasing commercial waste collection services.
  • Single Unit Waste Set-Out Business Case: Recommends expanding a four-stream collection system (organics, seasonal yard waste, recycling and residual garbage) to all single-unit residences by the end of 2022. It also recommends a rate variability structure (in the range of $5-6 per month) based on the size of black cart selected (120L or 240L), and an Extra Waste Program, which will allow residents to occasionally set out excess waste for a fee.
  • Waste Transition Plan: Provides a strategic overview for 2020-2022. The report outlines the priorities for short-term implementation plan of the 25-year Waste Strategy with a focus on waste diversion and reduction programs, citizen and community support, interim organics management, fiscal accountability and more.
  • Waste Services Supplemental Capital Budget Adjustment: Recommends that $51.5 million (which already exists in the Capital Budget) be added to the 2019-2022 Waste Services Capital Budget to fund the capital costs of implementing a Source Separated Organics Program, as detailed in the Waste Set-out Business Case.
  • Bylaw 18590: Facilitates proposed program changes including the introduction of automated collection and required source separation of waste for residential households. A number of residents who live in multi-unit residences but receive curbside collection (about 27,000 households) will see their rate adjusted to reflect their service type.
To visit the reports, visit edmonton.ca/meetings (under August 29, 2019 - Special Utility Committee).

For more information: visit edmonton.ca/futureofwaste


Wednesday, August 14, 2019

MCR Success Stories in August, 2019

Waste Wise Block Party

MCR-in-Training Jarett S. hosted a Waste Wise Block party for 25 people. He talked to his neighbours about going bagless and how to recycle right.

Vermicomposting Demo Success

MCR Barb N.: "I do these demos every year at Victoria school. I have also started a worm bin in the biology classroom. Some teachers want to start zero waste lunch program next year."

Persistent about Waste Reduction

At her workplace, MCR Mila P. was asked to send regular emails to employees about small things they can do to make a difference. That's hundreds of employees.
In fact, she was asked "please don't stop."

Plant a Row, Grow a Row

MCR Lindsay M. reminded everyone that she helped Edmonton's Food Bank start the Grow a Row program, circa 1995. That program eventually became Plant a Row, Grow a Row.

All Smiles at the Reuse Centre

MCRs Wendy, Sulav, Antonietta, and Norma modeled for photos at the Reuse Centre.

Workplace Waste Audit

"Since April, I had been having separate chats with co-workers about my involvement in the MCR program and my passion for vermicomposting. Then the general manager heard about my involvement and asked me if we can do something in the office to reduce waste.
This July, we have already started the process for a waste audit." - MCR Roberto M.

Way to Go, MCR Laurie O!

"A couple was out shopping and the woman went to sort her cup for garbage or for recycling. She put the single-use cup in the garbage container, but she also said, "well, I guess it could go in the recycling..." I bumped into that conversation and informed them that single-use cups (compostable or not) should go into the garbage. The couple then said, 'you learn something new everyday.' "

Saturday, August 10, 2019

What are the Competing Behaviours?

Another installment about Effective MCR Conversations

"Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds." - George Eliot

I like to help friends and neighbours adopt new behaviours that reduce waste. Hopefully I ask them for actions that fit their lifestyle. After all, everyone is working through the list of chores and tasks and projects and programs of the day.

Before I "ask" them to do a specific action, I pause. I consider other actions that might "compete" with what I want them to do.

Step One: List the Competing Behaviours

What actions could they do instead?

Example One: Bring his reusable bags into the grocery store.

Some competing behaviours
  • He plans to carry his groceries out in his hands.
  • He plans to carry his groceries out in a box.
  • He just forgot to put his reusable bags in his car.
  • He just forgot his reusable bags in his car.
  • He plans to buy a reusable bag at the cashier.
Note: We assume IF he brings reusable bags into the store THEN he will use them.

Example Two: Go bagless when she mows her lawn.

Some competing behaviours
  • She bags her grass, puts it in a plastic bag, and sets it out for garbage.
  • She just forgot to take the bag off her lawnmower.
  • She bags her grass and puts it in her compost pile.
  • She bags her grass and brings it to the Eco Station.
  • She is in the Edmonton Cart Rollout, so she bags her grass, puts it in a big paper bag, and sets it out for collection.
  • She doesn't mow her lawn.
  • She re-landscapes everything and gets rid of her lawn.

Step Two: Respect

Pause and respect why each of these actions is a realistic option.

It might be convenient. It might be attractive. It might be easy. It might be desirable. And sometimes, it might be good for the environment. Someone might consider each action. Those reasons are legitimate and meaningful for them.

These two steps help me favour my target behaviour for each person. That's how I have some success in changing waste behaviours.

Rodney became a Master Composter Recycler in 2008. He enjoys working with passionate volunteers, funny co-workers, and his adorable children. He loves long walks on the beach, fluffing his compost pile, and skiing any time of the year.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Tell One Friend: Take Your Battery out to an Eco Station

If a household item makes noise, lights up or connects to the Internet, then it almost certainly has a battery. Did you know that batteries in the garbage can leak toxic chemicals into the air, soil and water? The can also interact with other items in the trash and explode or catch fire.

Do you use a lot of batteries?

Try rechargeable batteries. Making the switch saves money, reduces waste, and helps the environment.

Juicy Tips

  • It's FREE to drop off batteries, e-waste and Household Hazardouswaste at Eco Stations.
  • Find the closest Eco Station. Visit edmonton.ca/ecostations
  • Take batteries out of devices.
    Remember batteries in remote car locks, watches, musical greeting cards, cell phones and more...
  • Put tape over both ends of the battery. This prevents reactions with other objects.
  • Batteries (and other Household Hazardous Waste) are not accepted at Big Bin Events.
  • Edmontonians can also discard batteries at many local retailers.
    Click here for local retailers that recycle batteries.

Share Your Message Effectively

Try these tips to connect with friends, family, neighbours, and co-workers.

Model the Behaviour
Show friends and family how to store and drop off batteries to Eco Stations or drop off location and how to find where.

Offer Timely Prompts
When you spot batteries that need replacing, remind friends and family about how to properly dispose of used batteries. Talk about the benefits of rechargeable batteries.

Give Positive Feedback
"You are really helping the environment by taking those batteries to the Eco Station!"

Thursday, July 18, 2019

MCR Success Stories in July, 2019

Plastic Free July

Hayley R. made an impact on social media by posting about #plasticfreejuly. Hayley had many offline conversations about reducing waste, specifically plastic as a result.

Home Composting...Ready, Set, Go!

Joe L. helped friends set up a home composter and got them started with home composting their kitchen scraps.

Session Success

Alan, Tony & Craig delivered a session on composting to the City of Edmonton Forestry team. They covered science of composting, set up worm bins and shared tips on effective gardening.

MCR Munch & Mulch

MCRs and their guests came out to Compost 'S cool this past weekend to learn about 5 ways to deal with grass, leaves, and plants... but not "compost." We finished up with Compost 'S cool pictionary. The weather was beautiful, snacks were delicious and the company fabulous as always!