Published on August 30, 2023

What’s Happening in Waste

Change is something that can always be expected. However, you may not realize how things happening within the region, and across Canada, could impact how you dispose of waste, or you may have questions around new legislation being adopted in the near future.

Below, the City of St. Albert has addressed some frequently asked questions about what’s happening with waste lately and how it might impact you.

Will the City of St. Albert Implement a Single-use Plastic Bylaw?

To meet its zero-plastic waste by its 2030 target, the Government of Canada recently released the Single-use Plastic Prohibition Regulations to address the creation and sale of single use plastic shopping bags, cutlery, foodservice ware, ring carriers, stir sticks and straws by December 2023.

In response to the federal Single-use Plastic Prohibition Regulation, other municipalities in the region have implemented bylaws that directly address single-use items.

The composition of waste varies from city to city and in response to the upcoming changes, the City of St. Albert carried out a curbside waste composition study in the spring and fall of 2022 to better understand its best steps forward.

Waste carts and recycling bag sitting at curb ready to be picked up

By analyzing garbage, organics and recycling streams it was determined that St. Albert not only has a 57 per cent waste diversion rate, making it one of Canada’s residential waste diversion leaders- but that only 0.67 per cent, by weight, of all waste sampled in the audit was comprised of single-use items. Based on these findings, a focus on diverting more materials from the garbage stream, and reducing the presence of contaminants in the organics and recycling streams, are the City’s ongoing priorities.  A Single Use Item Reduction Strategy is not being implemented in St. Albert, and the City is continuing to focus on education and outreach efforts along with other wholistic initiatives, that will naturally contribute to a reduction in the prevalence of single use items.

What Is Extended Producer Responsibility?

Albertans can be on the look out for changes in the packaging of their products with the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations, which shift the end-of-life management of packaging to the producers and away from municipalities and taxpayers. This centralized, province-wide EPR system will make recycling easier, clarify what can and cannot be recycled, make recycling more accessible to communities and encourage better product design by producers that will be consistent throughout the province. EPR will be fully implemented October 1, 2026.

Door hanger with the word oops on it

How is the City Focusing on Waste Education and Outreach?

The City has been conducting Curbside Waste Education since 2017 to encourage proper waste sorting practices, help residents understand how to properly set out their carts and gather information on common waste questions. 

We recognize that there are different materials and items that can be confusing to sort. As such, educating residents continues to be a priority through conversations, door knockers and Oops! Stickers. 

Education and outreach programs allow our team to connect with community members of all ages. Since 2019, our team has been providing education to schools in St. Albert through our school Green Organics Cart program and Waste & Our World presentations.

A larger owl mascot performing in a classroom

In 2023, the Waste and Diversion team expanded education efforts to include the Servus Credit Union Place pre-schoolers recreation summer camps. Participants were introduced to the different waste streams, as well as some commonly missorted items. Of course, our mascot, Wiser the Waste Minimizer, had to make an appearance to help teach about waste reduction.

Did You Know?

  • In the summer of 2021, an average of 37 per cent of organic loads were landfilled each month due to contamination.
  • In 2022, the Curbside Waste Education team visited 7,588 households.
  • Sending a batch of contaminated organics to a landfill is 17 per cent more expensive than composting.
  • In 2022, 1,219 households received a "Thank You" sticker for properly sorting their waste.

What kind of partnerships is the City developing as St. Albert grows?

In our commitment to environmental sustainability, the City has fostered strong partnerships with local and regional material recyclers and organics processors to continue diverting more materials away from the landfill and to safely dispose of household hazardous waste. 

These partnerships have allowed us to expand recycling programs for our residents and divert more waste away from the landfill. For example, new in 2023, the depot now accepts certain types of soft foam, coloured foam and meat trays along with previously accepted clean white packing blocks from electronics, appliances or furniture. for recycling. Residents can also bring gently used textiles (clothing, handbags, tents, etc.) to the depot, where a local non-profit organization sells, recycles or otherwise prevents this waste from entering landfills.

How can I do my part?

To continue to be successful, please ensure that materials are properly sorted and placed in their appropriate containers as you put them out at the curb. If you’re ever unsure, the Be Waste Wise app is a great resource that not only helps you determine where to sort your items, but also reminds you about your waste collection day and sends you a notice if there will be any interruptions in service. The app is continually being updated to reflect materials suggested by residents and most commonly observed contaminants.

If you have any additional inquiries about waste collection, please email the Waste and Diversion team at wastewise@stalbert.ca

Happy sorting! 


Want to stay informed?

Receive weekly updates by subscribing to City Highlights


Related Pages

Last edited: August 30, 2023