Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Coming Soon: Kennedale Eco Station

Construction on the City of Edmonton's newest Eco Station has officially begun in the northeast quadrant of the Edmonton. The site is located next to Kennedale Waste Operations, near the Belvedere LRT Station. It is currently being excavated in preparation for building, and the Eco Station is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2015.

Like Ambleside, Kennedale Eco Station is being built from the ground up. Our first Eco Stations, Coronation and Strathcona, were retrofit into pre-existing buildings and infrastructure. Building from scratch allows the site to be optimized for this purpose, so that visitors and customers will have the best experience possible. Having more space and a more efficient layout also means there will be additional room for extra features.

Artist's rendering of the future Kennedale Eco Station
Kennedale Eco Station will be similar in layout and services to the Ambleside Eco Station, and by popular demand, will feature a Reuse Area for furniture, electronics, and other items in good condition. As usually, staff will select suitable items and make them available for customers to reuse.

Kennedale will be the City of Edmonton's 4th Eco Station.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Light BulbsThe City of Edmonton reminds residents that all old light bulbs, including incandescents, halogens and compact fluorescents should be brought to an Eco Station for safe disposal and recycling.

The manufacture of incandescent light bulbs (the common round-shaped ones) is being phased out in Canada in 2014 to encourage the use of more energy-efficient bulbs.

In 2012, the City’s Eco Stations recycled 43,342 compact fluorescent bulbs and 233,679 linear feet of fluorescent tubes. The bulbs and tubes are crushed and the mercury powder is collected in a filter. The glass and aluminum are recycled and the filters are sent for proper disposal.

Eco Stations accept light bulbs from residents only. All light bulbs, household hazardous waste and e-waste are accepted free of charge.

For more information and for a list of other items that should be taken to an Eco Station, please visit

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Styrofoam Conundrum, by MCR Christine W.

Why it is more environmentally friendly for Edmonton to NOT recycle Styrofoam?

Some landfills report up to a third of their space consume by Styrofoam (polystyrene). Ultimately we should try to reduce our use of Styrofoam. This includes not eating out at places that have a lot of packaging, and buying less “stuff” that comes packed to death. The only good use of Styrofoam that I have found is Japanese dome homes (worth Googling). These are cute little homes that look like something either a smurf or an alien would live in but, sadly, are ridiculously expensive and would not be rated for Edmonton climate.

The main challenge with recycling Styrofoam is bulk; it takes a lot of resources to ship. These two items weigh the same amount, but the spoon is so much smaller. Twenty of these spoons could be held in your hand, but twenty Styrofoam cubes would fill a garbage bag.

A few places in Alberta collect Styrofoam, including Grand Prairie and Cochrane. Both cities ship their polystyrene products to Asia for further processing.

Photo from Aquatera Utilities Inc.
This pile of 22 transit bags makes
approx. 16.5 ingots.
 The friendly folks in Grande Prairie shared some details about their process. They collect a range of clean Styrofoam products, including items like coffee cups and packing peanuts. They use a  $35,000 machine to break it down to a tenth of the original size into a product called “ingots”. 

The ingots are shipped to Japan to be made into hard dark plastic objects such as picture frames, encasements for computers, park benches, flower pots, architectural molding, toys, etc.

It is great that other places are recycling Styrofoam, so why doesn't Edmonton?

It's because the new Waste-to-Biofuels facility at the EWMC will convert the bulky Styrofoam directly into fuel. This facility will start operations this spring and is expected to be fully operational in 2016. Initially, it will produce methane from the Styrofoam and other waste that is not easily recycled or composted. Later on, it will produce ethanol which will be mixed with gasoline to reduce harmful emissions.
Photo from Aquatera Utilities Inc.
An ingot is 1 meter long and about 14 lbs.


  • Edmonton’s Styrofoam will not end up in a landfill here or anywhere else.
  • The Styrofoam is turned INTO fuel instead of requiring MORE fuel to process.
  • The final product (ethanol) will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Fortunately we are already on this path and are in a unique position to both keep our Styrofoam out of landfills AND create fuel from it!

Laura H. models a huge piece of Styrofoam.
Christine W. graduated from the MCR program in 2010. She has volunteered in many ways as an MCR including presentations to school groups, events and tradeshows, blog posts, presentations for new MCRs, compost workshops and the #YEG Repairathon.