Celebrating Saskatchewan Waste Reducers - 2011 Waste Minimization Awards
The Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council (SWRC) and SaskPower hosted Saskatchewan's 16th Waste Minimization Awards ceremony on April 19th at the Travelodge Hotel in Regina.
“The awards recognize waste minimization leadership in Saskatchewan for 2011,” said Bert Weichel, SWRC Chairperson. “The actions of the recipients clearly demonstrate how we, as individuals, groups or industry, can have an impact that helps to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills.”
The Individual award recognizes those whose initiative and dedication have impacted waste reduction in their communities, workplaces or government. The 2011 recipient is Tammy Myers, Watershed Coordinator of the Moose Jaw River Watershed Stewards, for her leadership in agricultural plastics recycling. Tammy organized the province’s first collection event for grain bags and twine in 2010. She convinced a local company to design and produce a grain bag roller to compact the bags, located a plastics recycler willing to handle the materials, and carried out a public education campaign. The end result was more than 60,000 lbs of plastic recycled rather than being landfilled, or worse, burned. In 2011, she organized additional collection events. Tammy works tirelessly to find more partners and more effective ways to collect agricultural plastics and to educate people about them.
The Youth/School award acknowledges youth who have demonstrated exemplary commitment and leadership by involving peers, schools, or communities in waste reduction and conservation efforts. This year’s recipient is the Grade 6 class at the Star City School. This 10-student class call themselves “Grade 6’s in Action” and have adopted the goal of improving their community environmentally and socially. They started collecting recyclables from households once a month. Residents call the school and let them know that they have beverage containers and paper or cardboard to be picked up. The “Grade 6’s in Action” volunteer their noon hour, and their teacher, Kathleen Stobbs, donates her time and her truck to pick up the recyclables. They bring the beverage containers to SARCAN and the paper and cardboard to the Town’s recycling bin. The students use the deposits from the beverage containers and residents’ donations to raise funds for projects that enhance school spirit.
The Non-Profit award recognizes the significant contribution that non-profit and grass roots organizations make in helping us all reduce waste. The 2011 recipient is the Regina Food Bank. The Regina Food Bank has had a partnership with ThinkRecycle since 2009 and has collected more than 35,000 lbs of cell phones, printer cartridges and digital cameras for recycling, raising more than $20,000 in the process. In 2011, the Food Bank expanded its electronics program and became an approved collector for SWEEP, the provincial electronics recycling program. They cleaned up an abandoned electronics recycling site for SWEEP, sending 21 semi-loads (200 tonnes) to be responsibly recycled. The Food Bank now collects electronics from the commercial sector for SWEEP on an ongoing basis, recycling 37 tonnes in December alone. The Food Bank’s entrepreneurial spirit generates funds for their food security programs and reduces waste in the process.
The 2011 Corporate Leadership Award goes to the McIntosh Mall in Prince Albert. The McIntosh Mall is a Ministry of Government Services building that houses a variety of provincial government offices. In 2009, Government Services started a recycling program which involved removing garbage cans and replacing them with recycling stations, and mini desktop garbage containers. At the same time, the building’s innovative managers launched a vermicomposting program to recycle their food scraps. Everyone in the building participates and they now divert 225 lbs of organics materials every week, making it one of the largest vermicomposting operations in the province. Overall, the building has reduced its waste by 53 percent and diverts the equivalent of 35 garbage trucks (547 cubic yards) from landfill every year. They’ve also adopted a series of energy conservation measures that have reduced their natural gas use by 25 percent and their electricity use by 15 percent.
In the category of Municipality, the 2011 Waste Minimization Award recipient is the Town of Eston. Eston is the home of the World Gopher Derby, so it’s not too surprising that the first version of their recycling program was called Go Fer Waste Reduction. Started in 1994 as a volunteer effort supported by donations of space and equipment from the Town and local businesses, Eston’s program has expanded to include curbside collection for recyclables and a depot for composting leaves and grass. The Town recycles 220,000 lbs of paper a year to Urban Forest Recyclers in Swift Current, and also collects glass, tin and plastics. In 2010, Eston banned all recyclable products from its landfill. The town also works hard to educate its citizens about its recycling programs and encourages them to take advantage of local re-use options.
The Partnerships award recognizes projects or programs which demonstrate the benefits of co-operation. The 2011 award winners are the Town of Carlyle and Regens Disposal. Regens has been operating a recycling program for the Town of Carlyle since 2009. Together, they worked to figure out the most efficient way to collect materials that would work for the town residents. Regens had access to a recycling facility that could handle paper, tins and plastic. These materials are collected monthly from each household, using one cart for paper and cardboard and another for plastics and tin combined. After surveying residents, the partners learned that they needed bigger carts for paper, so now the paper carts hold 242 litres while the plastic/tin carts hold 182 litres. Regens collects 18,000 kg of plastics and tins and 36,000 kg of paper and cardboard from Carlyle residents every year. The solutions gained by working together to figure out the best recycling system for the Town of Carlyle have led to five other communities in the Southeast region adopting the program.
All of the winners demonstrate a strong commitment to waste minimization and have made our province a better place to live. SWRC and SaskPower congratulate them!
2011 Waste Minimization Awards proudly sponsored by SaskPower