Landfills in Alberta
Landfilling is the most common method to dispose of waste in Alberta. Even though significant efforts are made to reduce, reuse, and recycle as much of the waste we produce there is still a need for disposal facilities.
Alberta began regionalizing its municipal landfill system in the 1970s to transition the province from a system of small municipal "dumps" throughout the countryside to regional landfills with a network of transfer stations that would consolidate waste. This shift allowed for the cost-effective development of engineered landfill sites.
Modern landfills are engineered waste management facilities that are typically integrated with other activities such as organics management and collection sites for household hazardous waste, tires, white goods and other recyclable materials.
Landfills in Alberta are classified by the waste streams they can accept. There are three classes of landfills:
- Class I – Hazardous waste landfill
- Class II – Non-hazardous waste landfill
- Class III – Inert waste landfill
A solid waste transfer station is a facility that receives waste from a community where it is consolidated by transferring it to a larger vehicle for more efficient and economical transport to another waste management facility for disposal or recycling.
Transfer stations in Alberta are typically used to:
- Economically transport waste to a distant landfill
- Increase municipal collection efficiency
- Provide convenient drop-off locations for residents
- Reduce traffic volume at a landfill
Transfer stations are more commonly used as multi-purpose facilities that include:
- Storage of recyclable materials
- Household hazardous waste collection depots
- Collection points for organic compost feedstock in some cases. (From GOA site)
Alberta Environment and Parks offers a transfer station guidance manual which suggests best practices for environmental protection and workplace safety.