Both the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation and the City of Moncton received national honors during the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference held in Winnipeg this spring. The Corporation processes waste from over 120,000 households throughout southeastern New Brunswick, including neighboring Kent and Kings counties. Having celebrated its 10-year anniversary on November 30, 2002, the Corporation is considered a leader provincially and nationally in recycling and composting.
Waste managers may wonder how this tiny community, with very limited resources, achieved such a feat.
In 1999 the Corporation adopted a Wet/Dry curbside recycling and composting program. In that year residents in the municipalities of Moncton, Riverview, Dieppe, and Sackville began using blue and green transparent bags. Sample Glad and local manufacturer Al-Pack bags, as well as Wet/Dry information, were distributed to all residents and the program was launched. As residents in the major regions grew accustom to placing dry waste such as cardboard, paper, plastic, aluminum, and all “dry” waste in blue transparent bags and Wet waste such as food, yard waste, sanitary items, and all “wet” waste in green transparent bags, the remaining 10 municipalities in the region joined the program in 2000. The local service districts, Kings and Kent, welcomed the Wet/Dry Program in soon after in 2001.
Under the New Brunswick Department of Environment and local government’s “Waste Reduction and Diversion — An Action Plan for New Brunswick” the Corporation has accomplished many goals and initiatives of its “Five-Year Action Plan”, which includes a rebate in 2002 and 2003 (only for municipalities or LSDs participating in this program) should their region fall under the national average of 856 kilograms for waste generated per household. Last year nine municipalities received a rebate while the local service districts (LSDs) used their $62,000 rebate received under the 3Rs Incentive Program to continue Wet/Dry education and increase participation levels.
As of August 2003, the Corporation is pleased to report that 85 per cent of residents participate in the voluntary Wet/Dry Program.
The Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Management Facility is located five kilometres west of Moncton. The site includes a landfill, a dry recyclables recovery facility, a Wet composting facility, a Construction & Demolition site, as well as areas for metal, wood, concrete, asphalt, tires, and permanent and mobile Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection depots.
In 2002, the site received 145,500 metric tonnes of waste attributed as follows:
In total, 43 per cent of waste entering the site in 2002 was diverted from landfill. Built one cell at a time, prior to the Wet/Dry Program, landfill cells were constructed annually at a cost of $1.2-million. Through Wet/Dry recycling and composting diversion, landfill cell are now expected to last up to three years.
Once residents place sorted waste at curb, haulers collect the waste separately. Most haulers now use split-trucks; even smaller collectors using one-tonne vehicles keep waste separated.
Dry waste is sent to the dry facility tipping-floor where staff remove black or non-transparent bags from non-participating households along a pre-sort station. The bags pass through a bag opener and enter the facility. Waste is sorted manually in sorting stations. Staff are responsible for the recovery of various types of recyclables while a material separator assist in separating the flat stream from the round stream. All recyclables are baled and stored for shipping.
The Corporation employs a Supervisor of Markets and Quality Control who is responsible for finding new markets for items in the dry stream. In 2000 the Corporation became the first in New Brunswick to recycle milk cartons. On August 11, the Corporation also became the first in the province to sign an agreement with the N.B. Milk Dealers Association stipulating that funds will be received for the Corporation’s milk carton recycling efforts.
Wet waste is sent to the Wet composting facility. Similar to the Dry plant, the green transparent bags pass through a bag opener and enter a trommel screen. This screen removes non-organics (larger than two inches), while the organics pass through the screen, under a magnet and through a shredder before entering one of eight composting vessels. Organics remain in the vessels for 30 days before passing through a refining process and outside for maturing.
During the spring of 2001, the Corporation held a “Compost Give-Away” for residents. According to the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) national standards the Corporation produces Grade “A” compost. Today, it is negotiating distribution methods with local retailers.
Special waste solutions
HHW collection plays a major role in the program. In 2002, more than 7,000 vehicles dropped-off hazardous material to the Corporation’s permanent onsite depot or mobile unit, the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada. Waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfill or back roads and woods is now diverted and sent for proper disposal or recycling.
The Corporation has also implemented many national and local first waste initiatives, including:
The first national Sneaker Recycling Program through Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program in September 2001. Since launched, 80,000 sneakers have been recovered and sent to Nike’s Recycling Center in Wilsonville, Oregon where they will be turned into Nike Grind and used in athletic surfaces around the world.
On Earth Day 2002, the Corporation teamed-up with Tim Hortons to launch the first Canadian Tim Hortons Coffee Cup Recycling Program.
In September 2002, the Corporation partnered with Sounds Fantastic to recycle discarded cell phones. Refurbished cell phones are donated to local Victim Services and senior groups for use in emergency situations.
The Corporation’s capital cost is $6.7-million, which includes a cost of $46.21 per metric tonne to run the facility and the Wet/Dry Program. With the Corporation’s mandate to divert waste from landfill while meeting residential needs, Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste provides these many services while maintaining one of the lowest national tipping fees, at $51.45 per metric tonne.
The Corporation will continue to work with residents to improve Wet/Dry participation and work to bring the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) sectors on board the Wet/Dry program. The ICI sectors represent 55 per cent of the waste stream. Currently, a Wet/Dry ICI pilot project is underway with over 200 businesses participating in the program.
Residents continue to welcome the Wet/ Dry program with open arms, as it continues to prove both environmentally and economically feasible.
Christa Methot is Community Relations Coordinator for the Westmorland-Albert Solid Waste Corporation in New Brunswick. E-mail Christa at email@example.com