THE WAY WE GREEN GOAL: Edmonton generates zero waste.


Edmontonians all produce waste. Opportunities to recover and utilize waste as a resource are increasing but the need to reduce our waste still exists if we are to advance towards zero waste. Waste reduction practices such as reuse, recycling, backyard composting and grasscycling (leaving the clippings on your lawn when you mow), as well as safe household hazardous waste disposal, all contribute to waste reduction.


Prior to 2011, each residence at the U of A coordinated their student move out process independently. Eco Move Out, led by the Office of Sustainability, was the first coordinated effort to reduce, reuse and recycle materials students have leftover from their year of living in residence. This program has been instrumental in bringing the U of A campus together to reduce the environmental impact of move out day. Eco Move Out is a significant undertaking each year with more and more waste diverted to organizations that can reuse or recycle the materials. They take in everything you could find in a dorm room including clothing & household items, electronics, non-perishable food, toiletry items, frozen food, furniture & appliances, organic material and mattresses. The majority of items collected are recycled or reused with the program continually seeking ways to improve their waste diversion rate. The Office of Sustainability works closely with Residence Services to communicate with students about Eco Move Out including drop-off times, locations and what items can be reused or recycled. Many organizations benefit from partnering with the program each year including Goodwill Industries of Alberta, the Campus Food Bank, the Mustard Seed & YESS. Over their four years in operation Eco Move Out has diverted over 43,000 KG of waste from local landfills and plans to continue doing so for years to come!


Residential Waste Diversion measures the percentage of residential waste kept out of the landfill. As a result of Edmonton’s world class waste management system and residents’ participation in waste reduction, more than half of residential waste is diverted from the landfill. Diversion facilities include the recycling facility, the composting facility and the waste-to-biofuels plant. In 2015, Edmonton achieved a 52% diversion rate for residential waste.


DID YOU KNOW: According to the annual Customer Participation and Satisfaction survey, 58% of residents with a lawn said they leave their grass clippings on the lawn instead of bagging them for collection every, or most, times that they mow!!


When CTV's The Amazing Race Canada brought contestants to Edmonton in May of 2015, the producers wanted to showcase the best and brightest Edmonton had to offer. Perhaps the most notable stop of the day was at the Edmonton Waste Management Center (EWMC). As a collection of advanced waste processing and research facilities, the EWMC is a unique place where waste is transformed into useful resources. CTV producers worked with staff members at the EWMC to create challenges that would leave the four remaining teams as tired, sweaty and uncomfortable as possible. Considering all of the different processes happening throughout the EWMC, finding a challenge for The Amazing Race Canada contestants was an easy feat. The contestants competed on the sorting lines at the Materials Recovery Facility and at the e-waste recycling facility. After a quick safety and training session, they sorted the fast-moving recyclables into various bins and extracted the monitors from computers for recycling. Critical processes at the Edmonton Waste Management Center include composting, sorting recyclables, processing electronic waste, recycling construction waste, and more. The Landfill Gas Recovery System produces 4.8 megawatts of electricity annually through the conversion of landfill gas. The EWMC is also home to the largest aerobic co-composting facility in North America, which turns organic wastes into compost. The processes at the Edmonton Waste Management Center are integral to Edmonton's sustainability goals, keeping waste out of landfill and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


DID YOU KNOW: In 2015 the City of Edmonton's Eco Stations received 277,787 visitors. The Eco Stations received 9,604 wet cell batteries, 296,913 fluorescent tubes, 48,312 fluorescent bulbs (CFL), 7,992 propane tanks (20 pound tanks), 2,282 fire extinguishers, 89,399 aerosol cans, and 17,899 disposable propane cylinders in 2015. 2,962,281 litres of Household Hazardous Waste were diverted from landfill. In addition, approximately 51,003 litres of paint and 7,797 aerosol cans were reused!


Conserving resources during construction and throughout the operation of a building is key to building green. Green buildings protect and restore biodiversity while improving the economy by promoting renewable energy technology. Since January 2008, all new City-owned buildings and major renovations have been designed and constructed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard as a minimum, and to be formally LEED certified.

In 2015, the City exceeded its target of 75% of construction waste being recycled from City of Edmonton building projects that are striving for LEED certification. Construction Waste Recycled is calculated by dividing the tonnes of construction waste that is taken into recycling or reuse facilities by the total tonnes of construction waste produced during the construction of the City project. In 2015, the amount of construction waste recycled from all building projects totaled 79% while the construction waste recycled from LEED buildings reached 86%.