North West Redwater Partnership looking to fund innovative waste diversion ideas

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by Stephen Dafoe

The Sturgeon Refinery is celebrating $500,000 in community investment that they generated through recycling and are inviting community groups throughout the Sturgeon County region to put another $10,000 into proposals for innovative waste diversion ideas.

Since North West Redwater Partnership broke ground on their refinery near Redwater, they have lined up rows of bins to collect concrete, drywall, organics, wood, steel, aluminum and other waste from the project. The company says by focusing on diversion, 95% of the material was diverted from landfills.

More than half of the material was wood, which was reused and recycled into other products. Scrap steel, aluminum and insulated wire generated revenue through scrap metal recyclers. That scrap totalled 6.6 million pounds. Other revenue was generated through the deposits on countless thousands of drink containers.

In total, just over $500,000 was generated by waste diversion, monies NWR has pooled into a community investment fund and used to assist school, local events, 4-H programming, senior facilities and recently the Morinville Community Library.

“We aim to be the kind of neighbour people want in the community,” said Vanessa Goodman, Manager of External Relations with North West Redwater Partnership. “Using the revenue from recycling to pay-it-forward while reducing our environmental footprint is truly about making a positive difference that can be felt.”

Now NWR is celebrating their recycling efforts by joining their Waste into Worth challenge. Sturgeon County-based community groups can apply for kickstart or enhancement funding for their recycling projects that are either new initiatives or ones that needs a funding boost to help make bigger.

Successful applications will receive up to $3,000 to help get the idea going.

“We never thought our decision to turn waste into worth would create as much value as it did,” Goodman said, noting the half a million dollars invested into local communities has made such as impact. “It goes to show how one small idea can lead to big results. This challenge is a great way for community groups to get creative and help make our communities even better. Imagine if 10 or even 20 groups took part each with their own small idea – the amount of waste recycled and worth created would be amazing.

Applications and added details are available at www.nwrsturgeonrefinery.com or by emailing communities@nwrpartnership.com.

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