SWRC Update: 2019 Workshop Review

SWRC Update:  2019 Workshop Review

SWRC’s Fall Workshops are one-day events held around the province, this year in Melville, Swift Current, Melfort and Lloydminster (with Recycling Council of Alberta). The day started with updates from local programs: Melville’s planned new landfill (quite a feat of engineering); Swift Current’s composting and recycling programs; the story of the Boreal Area Regional Waste Authority (BARWA); and Lloydminster’s desire to break through their waste diversion plateau.

Attendees then shared their thoughts on plastic shopping bags and other single use plastics. So far in Saskatchewan, Outlook and Prince Albert are planning to ban plastic shopping bags and Regina is working on a broader strategy to reduce single use plastics. The Ministry of Environment (MOE) also updated us about the CCME strategy on Zero Plastic Waste as part of their presentation. 
The MOE also provided an update on the upcoming Household Hazardous Waste program, which will include most common HHW products except fluorescent lights and automotive batteries. Program plans (they expect two – one for general HHW and one specific to household batteries) are due Christmas Eve, with implementation in 2020 sometime. The MOE Landfill Section provided information on funding programs for closing landfills and on landfills specifically for construction/demolition materials.

Kelly Goyer from MMSW gave a program update and was joined by video by MMSW’s Director of Public Affairs David Lefevbre, who provided general information on what a program might look like if it was set up with Full Producer Responsibility, in a similar way to British Columbia. The MOE is considering this idea and it’s useful to begin discussing how it might work in Saskatchewan. Thanks to MMSW for gathering that information for us. 

Several attendees expressed interest in composting and TetraTech gave an overview of composting in winter. In Lloydminster, Peter Duck from the Bow Valley Waste Commission outlined some of the practical issues that they’re running in to with composting in Alberta. 

Sheri Praski from SWANA Northern Lights gave an update on the initiative to require landfills in Saskatchewan to have Certified Landfill Operators. At the Lloydminster workshop, she updated us on similar initiatives already in place in Alberta and Manitoba.

Rounding out the day, Michel Lefevbre from TetraTech presented some neat research on landfill covers that use native grasses and bacteria to keep water out of a closed landfill and consume methane. The Evapo-Transpiration Biocover system works in Prairie climates and can equal or outperform clay liners, plus potentially generate carbon credits. 
About 135 people attended the workshops. Thanks to Multi-Material Stewardship Western and SWANA Northern Lights for sponsoring this year’s events. The presentations are available online here.