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2003 Waste — Co-winner 1

Westmorland-Albert Counties and City of Moncton, New Brunswick

Waste Diversion Wet/Dry Program

Population: 140,000

The Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation, a non-profit municipal agency, operates the wet/dry program for 14 municipal regions in the Moncton area. Residents separate recyclable and organic materials, with the organics turned into high quality compost and the recyclable materials sold for reuse. The corporation was the first in Canada to recycle running shoes through Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program, recovering 80,000 sneakers to date. Just under half of all waste entering the landfill site has been diverted, eliminating the need to construct new landfill cells. The program is not yet available to the business community but the landfill site has designated areas for the disposal of construction and demolition waste. Residential participation reached 83 per cent by the end of 2002.

Background

In 1987, the Province of New Brunswick adopted a solid waste management plan that called for the establishment of solid waste commissions to handle all aspects of waste management in 12 provincial regions. In 1989, the Canadian Council of Ministers for the Environment (CCME) agreed on a national goal to reduce waste by 50 per cent per capita by 2000.

A volunteer-based committee studied various waste management options for the Westmorland and Albert counties and, from this, the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation was formed in 1992.The corporation's board of directors is made up of municipal officials and local service district representatives. The board initially contracted a European company to manage waste in the counties, but the initiative failed, and the corporation took over the operation of waste management in 1997.

Board members worked with corporation staff on the project and provided leadership and direction, while the corporation implemented the plan. The City of Moncton nominated the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation for the award.
As such, although the wet/dry program meets with national and provincial waste diversion goals, it is an amalgamation of many municipal partners with a not-for profit municipal agency delivering the program.

Results

  • In 2002, 43 per cent of waste entering the landfill site for disposal was diverted.
  • Prior to implementation, additional landfill cells were constructed annually at a cost of $1.2 million. With a capacity of 145,000 tonnes, the existing landfill cells are expected to last up to three years. "All our budget is based on tipping fees," said Ms. Methot. "Expanding the lifespan of the cells allows us to keep tipping fees as low as possible."
  • In 2002, the overall participation rate by residents was 83 per cent, which includes the success of the door-to-door service that reminds residents to participate and helps to remove barriers to participation.

Lessons Learned

  • Give residents an easy, common sense program and they will voluntarily participate and take pride in their environmental efforts. Soliciting and incorporating the public's suggestions also contributed to a healthier working relationship and a more successful diversion program.
  • Learn from others and avoid "reinventing the wheel." The corporation sought the advice of the City of Guelph, which had implemented a successful wet/dry program. Guelph offered valuable information, strategies, and educational materials that the corporation was able to use. In turn, the corporation is passing on its expertise to other communities, including Nipisaquit-Chaleur in northern New Brunswick and Calgary. The corporation has also assisted the Province of Newfoundland in its efforts to implement a similar program. There, the province was divided into three regions and the corporation is assisting in each region.
  • Using bags instead of carts or boxes means less contamination overall, and cleaner, less littered communities.

  • In order for residents to use up their old garbage bags, the corporation initially allowed residents to label black garbage bags as either wet or dry. However, after receiving one dry-labelled black bag that contained a propane tank, which subsequently jammed the source-separation equipment, the corporation realized the importance of safety. All black bags are now sent to landfill, even those that are labelled.

Partners and Collaboration

Internal

  • Fourteen municipal regions and 34 local service districts are involved in the wet/dry program.
  • When the program was initiated, many of these regions and districts were not equipped to collect two waste streams. All now have split vehicles that can haul both wet and dry waste.

External

  • New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government
  • New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia Solid Waste Associations
  • Solid Waste Association of North America
  • Canadian Composting Council
  • The Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce
  • Earth Day Canada
  • The New Brunswick Environment Industry Association
  • Communities in Bloom
  • Corporation staff are members of many of these organizations.
Page Updated: 21/12/2015