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Waste Management Hub

Letter Writing Campaign

Join the campaign to modernize Alberta’s recycling regulatory framework!

AUMA wants municipalities to write to their Members of Legislative Assembly (MLA) about modernizing Alberta’s regulatory framework in Alberta. Alberta municipalities are asking the Government of Alberta to:

  • Implement Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations that obligate producers to be responsible for their waste;
  • Expand the current recycling programs to include new materials; and
  • Grant the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (Alberta Recycling) the ability to adjust its recycling fees.

Several news reports have highlighted the lack of action by the Government of Alberta is causing municipalities more on operating residential recycling programs. For example, CBC Edmonton reported in January 2019 that Edmonton area municipalities struggle with increased municipal recycling costs. These higher costs are caused by policy changes in Asia in 2017, first by the Chinese government, which required lower containment rates, and later followed by other Asian countries. Municipalities are now forced to pay higher prices for collecting and sorting to meet the new overseas requirements. If Alberta had an EPR paper and packaging program, the industry would be obligate for recycling the waste, not municipalities, who have little control of paper and packaging waste coming into their recycling bins, but the industry does.

Municipalities are highlighting the need to have an EPR paper and packaging program through a recycling Notice of Motion. For example, City of Calgary Councillor Peter Demong brought a Notice of Motion to Council in February 2019 asking the city to work with AUMA, provincial government, industries, and Alberta municipalities to develop a baseline analysis that can inform the design of a provincial EPR program. AUMA Board of Directors already endorsed the motion. Several cities have done the same.

Alberta Recycling manages the province’s used oil, scrap tires, paint, and end-of-life electronic programs. Recycling fees for these programs have not changed for many years. The current fees do not cover the cost of operation. Many of the programs are not financially sustainable in the long run. This means municipalities will end up subsidizing these programs, paying for provincial government services.

Alberta municipalities should not be blamed for the provincial government’s lack of action and bad policies. It is time the Alberta government to make producers be responsible for their waste and work with Alberta Recycling to make our recycling programs more sustainable.

AUMA has developed a letter template municipalities can download and adapt to send to their MLAs outlining the need for provincial action to improve waste management in Alberta. A background document is available for further information.

Want to know more about EPR? Here are two infographics explaining the difference between EPR paper and packaging and today's municipal model for paper and packaging. Please also visit Recycling Council of Alberta: Extended Producer Responsibility Design Principles.

How do we reduce waste?

AUMA has adopted a three 3Rs hierarchy approach to waste management: reduce, reuse, recycle. When the 3Rs have been exhausted, recovery and disposal lie at the bottom of the hierarchy as last resorts. Click on the words in the pyramid to read more about each, including the role of municipalities and promising practices. 


Regional Collaboration

Municipalities are increasingly collaborating to provide services to their residents and waste management is no exception. For example, the Capital Region Waste Minimization Advisory Committee (CRWMAC) provides a forum for all municipalities in the Capital Region area to share information and implement joint waste minimization strategies and solutions.  Its Terms of Reference sets out a vision for the region to be a leader in waste minimization that strives to achieve greater than 80 per cent waste diversion.

The CRWMAC has developed the Capital Region Integrated Waste Management Plan (CRIWMP) to evaluate the “how to” and feasibility of achieving the target of diverting 80 per cent of waste.  Documents related to the plan include the following:

If you are not for zero waste, how much waste are you for?

Overall, waste reduction leading to Zero Waste is the end goal and philosophy behind our solid waste management strategy. 

“Zero Waste means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.” Zero Waste International Alliance

Find out how to move Towards Zero Waste

Alberta has a long way to go to achieve this vision. Although municipalities across the province have implemented successful local recycling programs, Alberta is the most wasteful province in Canada. This poor result is partially due to Alberta’s outdated recycling regulations, some of which have not been updated since 1997.