Where do items go after they are collected?
An important part of making the Green Routine successful depends on residents sorting their waste correctly. Organics, recycling and waste materials all go to different locations to be processed.
Organic materials are taken a composting facility in Penhold where it turns it into compost. It takes about one year to turn our food scraps, grass and other organics into usable compost. Once the organics have turned into compost, it is spread over farmers’ fields where they grow crops such as hemp, barley malt and canola.
Because the composting process is done at an industrial scale, the organic materials reach high temperatures. This allows us to include meats, dairy products and other organic materials that cannot be composted in a backyard composter. Increasing the temperature also kills any bacteria or pathogens that may be present in the organic material. Finished compost must meet specific standards set by the Composting Council of Canada.
Waste materials are taken to Roseridge Regional Landfill which is approximately one hour away.
Did you know that organic materials don't break down in a landfill like they do in a composting facility? Landfills are sealed tightly so air and water can't get to the organic materials preventing them from decomposing.
Our recyclables currently go to our waste collection contractor's (GFL Inc.) materials recovery facility (MRF). The containers are separated into appropriate streams including metal cans; paper products and hard plastic containers, bottles and tubs (without lids or caps).
Aluminium cans are made into new cans. Did you know there is no limit to the amount of times an aluminium can can be recycled? Also recycling one aluminium can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours!
Hard plastic containers, bottles and tubs are sent to be made into new products such as detergent bottles, buckets, flowerpots and roll-out carts (the carts used in Strathcona County have over 60 per cent post-consumer materials).
Our paper products are made into other paper products such as box board, cardboard, pulp, gypsum paper, roofing felt and other recycled paper. Did you know that each tonne of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water? In 2012 we recycled 3,414 tonnes of paper products. That's a lot of trees!
Remember to rinse and dry your recyclable containers. Generally, companies purchasing recyclable items are looking for the best quality they can get. Clean recyclables are more desirable, and therefore chances of them being turned into a new product increases.
Are all recyclable items recycled?
Plastics and glass are recycling commodities that are subject to frequent market exchanges and fluctuations both locally and globally. Items made from sturdy, high-quality plastics, such as detergent or ketchup bottles, are better for making new items than lower quality plastics such as plastic wrap or clamshell containers. This makes them more recyclable.
As a result of world-wide circumstances, some recyclable materials such as Styrofoam and some plastics (plastic films and flexible packaging) are currently not being made into new products. Markets for turning these items into new products fluctuates frequently and are difficult to predict. When markets aren't available, these items are stockpiled or sent to landfill. When markets become available, these items are recycled. Strathcona County is continually looking for new opportunities to make sure that recycling and waste diversion is maximized.