Apr 28

#WasteWednesday April 28, 2021

Posted on April 28, 2021 at 12:04 PM by Tracy Wasylow

This week we’re talking about fast fashion and textile waste — AKA your clothes.

If you look at the tags on your clothing, you will notice they are all made of a combination of materials, most often polyester, cotton, and spandex. Much like plastic recycling, when materials are mixed to make a product, the combination makes clothing difficult to recycle and unfortunately most (upwards of 99%) clothing is eventually landfilled.

There are many companies and organizations working on textile recycling, but the problem won’t be solved simply through the recycling model. Clothing cannot be efficiently turned into more clothing. Actually, it's cheaper to just produce more.

In the online world we live and shop in today, it’s so easy to have new clothes delivered to your home. If they don’t fit or if you don’t like them, you can send the items back for a full refund. Unfortunately, this process creates a lot of waste for us, not only as the consumer. As we buy more clothing than we need, this in turn creates a lot of waste for the retailer as well.

There are investigations that show where clothing ordered online and returned ends up. Many times it isn’t back to the warehouse to be sold to someone else, as that costs the company more money. But where does it go? To the landfill of course.

So, what is the answer to the fast fashion problem? The solution starts with all of us as consumers. If we purchase only the clothing that we need and purchase higher quality materials that will last longer, we will create less textile waste as our clothing will have a longer life.
Apr 21

#WasteWednesday April 21, 2021

Posted on April 21, 2021 at 10:50 AM by Tracy Wasylow

This week for #WasteWednesday we’re talking about waste diversion.

Diverted waste are materials and/or items we do not need or want any longer that go through any separation or sorting from the waste stream in preparation for recycling or reuse, instead of being sent to a landfill.

So what does go to a landfill? All waste disposed of in the green waste dumpsters around the M.D. is landfilled. Whether it contains recyclables or not, anything in those dumpsters is collected, transferred, and eventually buried in a landfill for all time. Also, any waste hauled to one of our landfill transfer stations that is put in the Class 3 dry waste cell, AKA 'The Pit', or waste put in one of the Transtor transfer bins is landfilled.

When we look at calculating waste diversion rates, we look at the weight of material that is recycled divided by the total weight of all recycling and waste combined for a given year. With our seven landfill sites all lacking weigh scales, only recycling metal every 18 months or so, and stockpiling materials like concrete and shingles, it is very hard to quantify this number, so we won't.

Let’s focus on the numbers we did divert.

In 2020, we diverted 343.7 tonnes of waste material from landfills through our recycling programs. Of that, 127.9 tonnes (or 37.2% ) was tires and 105.3 tonnes (or 30.6%) was cardboard. The rest of that number was primarily from our mattress, grain bag, paper, plastic, electronics, and paint recycling programs.

These numbers are good and are steadily increasing, but so is the volume of waste that is being landfilled.

In 2020, M.D. residents disposed of 3,252.5 tonnes of Class 2 household waste and roughly 756.1 tonnes of waste in our Class 3 waste cells. We can improve on these numbers by changing our thinking before we put an item in the garbage or the dumpster. If we consider the thought “can I dispose of this in another manner where it would be recycled, reused, or composted?” we can divert more waste from landfills and have a real impact on our environmental footprint.

The M.D. of Bonnyville is working hard to improve our programs that not only offer ways for residents to divert more waste, but also to save the M.D. money in the long run by increasing the lifespan of our sites.

By expanding our recycling programs to include mattresses, grain bags, and the electronics pilot program with roughly 600 new items on the list of recyclables, we are certainly moving in the right direction.
Apr 14

#WasteWednesday April 14, 2021

Posted on April 14, 2021 at 10:30 AM by Tracy Wasylow

Let’s talk about a couple of the three Rs — Reduce and Reuse!
On average, every resident of the Town of Bonnyville, City of Cold Lake, and M.D. of Bonnyville dispose of 4.7 lbs of waste per day. That’s 1,700 pounds per person per year!
With the recycling landscape ever changing, the biggest impact residents can have on their waste footprint is to reduce the amount of waste they create.
Reusing materials, composting, and freecycling at M.D. Landfills are great ways to reduce the amount of waste we create.
If you have items that are in good working order or leftover materials from a project, you can bring them to the freecycle shed at one of the seven M.D. Landfill Transfer Stations for someone else to make use of, and that way, you're both reducing AND reusing. It's a win-win!
Freecycle crop
Please do not leave items at the gates of the landfills or at the community bin sites.