Where does my recycling go after the Edson Recycle Depot?

Starting May 1st, 2018, organic waste will be collected from the curbsides of single-family dwellings in Edson. The upgrade responds to an audit of Edson’s residential waste which found that food waste is the most prevalent divertible waste that reaches the landfill. Residents of single-family dwellings will receive one bin for compost-bound organic waste and one bin for landfill-bound household waste. On whether to add a third bin for certain recyclable materials, Edson Town Council will decide later.

Curbside recycling programs have increased diversion of recyclable waste in some Albertan municipalities. However, mixed-bag collection programs are currently out of favour because sorting facilities fail to reduce contamination to the levels demanded by market pressures, so mixed recyclables may be sloughed off to landfills. Furthermore, the proposed curbside collection service accepts only a fraction of all recyclable waste (that being mixed cardboard, paper, plastic containers, and tin containers). All residents of Edson would continue to rely on the Edson Recycle Depot to recycle glass, plastic bags, oil, paint, batteries, electronics, and other materials that are not accepted at curbside.

The Edson Recycling Depot guarantees that all recyclable waste is processed into recycled goods. Glass is delivered to United Concrete in Quesnel, BC where it is used in pipelines and sandblasting operations. Plastics are sent to Merlin Plastics in Vancouver, BC, or occasionally to other destinations in North America, unless it is oil containers, in which case it is sent to C&D Plastics in Edmonton where the oil is pressed out and recycled. Used oil is recycled by Van Brabant Oil Ltd in Morinville. Agricultural film, being of high quality, is shipped to China by Meridian Wealth Management Inc. Paint, fluorescent light tubes, and other household hazardous materials are collected by DBS, a Lethbridge company that finds safe recycling or disposal options for those materials. Call2Recycle in Ontario does the same for batteries and cellphones. Recycle Logic operates a facility in Red Deer that collects electronic materials, strips the precious metals, and recycles other components. Cardboard and paper products are sent to various North American recycling facilities. Grass clippings and other organic wastes go to other destinations, in Edson. Visit our website to learn more about Edson recyclables destinations.

Although mixed-bag recycling may be more convenient for some residents, it is unlikely that it could improve upon Edson’s renowned proficiency in source separation, and mixed collection is less successful in producing recycled goods. If the Town of Edson does wish to adopt mixed curbside recycling, it should first consider more constructive and cost-effective means of diverting waste from the landfill. A recent audit of Edson’s waste recommends several options for improvements, including: implement a green procurement policy, develop a waste reduction program for businesses, and engage the commercial sector in waste management planning.

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