by Colin Smith
Morinville News Correspondent
A pair of ambassadors has been helping Morinville get a handle on its garbage situation.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday participants in the Recycling Council of Alberta’s Summer Ambassador program, along with a Town staff member, undertook a waste management audit.
Its aim was to determine how much recyclable and organic material that could be diverted is being thrown into the regular waste stream by householders, according to Claude Valcourt, Director, Public Works.
They collected a total of 50 bags of garbage from Morinville homes, 25 one day and 25 the next. Homes were chosen on the basis of value, type and location within the town to give an overall representation.
The bags were taken to a collection point, where they were opened, sorted and weighed to identify items that could have been diverted from the waste stream.
“We collected residential samples, sorting through and categorizing waste into material categories – paper, plastic products, glass, metal, organics and other unacceptable materials such as household hazardous waste,” said Isabella Luu, recycling ambassador along with Angie Rice.
Valcourt said he expects to see a report on the results of the audit in two to three weeks.
“The report will be shared with Council and used to potentially amend our level of service in terms of waste management or not,” he said. “The motion from Council to me for Fall 2016 is to bring back a strategy on how to increase waste diversion.”
He is looking for information about waste composition and other indicators that can be used together with the new ReCollect software as a tool to assist residents to find out where to dispose of specific items.
“The results of this audit will be used for educating residents about better waste diversion practices,” said Valcourt.
Another area of interest is the correlation of residential weights going to the landfill and whether there is a need to alter the Town’s waste management program and contract renewal/development.
The Summer Ambassadors program of the Recycling Association of Alberta is designed to support municipalities and other organizations with waste management and waste reduction initiatives.
The association hires university students to work on the projects and takes care of all employment-related requirements.
Along with waste audits, such as Morinville’s, other projects include phone surveys, recycled material collection audits, and public outreach at community events.
Costs vary based on length and requirements of the projects, which can last up to four months.
Above: Auditor Isabella Luu pulls a nearly full jug of milk from inside a garbage bag.