Westlock one of five locations for 2022 ARMA recycling pilot

Thousands of litres of old oil and paint just some of the material collected June 1-2

WESTLOCK – Westlock residents are a big reason behind the recent success of the Westlock Curbside Roundup June 1-2, put on by the municipality in partnership with the Alberta Recycling Management Authority.  

And the numbers don’t lie with 3,100 litres of used oil, 910 oil containers, 87 oil filters and one drum of antifreeze, 1,345 aerosol cans and 3,320 gallons of paint, and four full one cubic metre bins of household hazardous waste, that included 1,190 aerosol cans (WD 40 for example) and 49 propane tanks of various sizes collected. 

“The only thing that we found a little unusual is there’s a large volume of used oil. That tells us Westlock has a number of folks that like to change their own oil,” said Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA) chief operating officer Brad Schultz. “Usually, we find that in rural Alberta communities.”

The volume and number of items collected was typical based on roundup events they’ve held to date, noted Schultz.“The message that we received from collecting that sort of volume is there’s a lot of ‘do it yourselfers’ that live in that community.”

The amounts collected in the curbside roundup was also noted at the June 27 Town of Westlock council meeting, where Coun. Murtaza Jamaly, commended administration on a job well done. “The data in there is excellent. Wow, we picked up a lot of stuff,” said Jamaly.

“There was certainly lots of stuff put out,” added mayor Ralph Leriger.

In addition, 115 tires and a variety of electronics, totaling about 300 items, were also collected during the two-day event.  

Schultz said the pandemic played a factor in exploring a ‘curbside’ recycling option with the ARMA, who put the word out to municipalities two years ago and hosted the first curbside pickup event in the Town of Olds in 2020. It was followed by two more events in 2021 in the Town of Devon and the First Nations community of Sikskia. They decided to continue the program, expanding it to five locations in 2022.

So far this year, three of the scheduled curbside pickup events in Alberta have already been completed, including those in Bruderheim, Wainwright and Westlock.

“It was really driven because we’ve seen the numbers drop going into recycling centres, waste management facilities and transfer stations,” he said, noting the ARMA has over 350 registered collections sites in arrangements with municipalities, throughout the province. These sites offer the public a place to drop off electronics, paint, tires, used oil and household hazardous waste to recycle. “Two years ago, when we did the Olds event, we were overwhelmed based on the volume of material that was set out by residents at the curbside,” said Schultz. “Simply because of the volume that was generated and getting a better understanding of what people are sitting on within their garages, basements, and yards, we thought we’d better do this again.”  

Schultz pointed out that people pay a recycling fee at the time of purchase for items such as tires, paint and electronics and that money goes to the Alberta Recycling Management Authority, that oversee recycling programs.

“We’ve developed an understanding of what people are sitting on in their homes and we have a job to do to educate Albertans, making sure they’re aware that there’s a local facility within their community to drop off this material,” explained Schultz. “It certainly has been an eye opener and we’ve learned so much by hosting these events with communities.”

Once items are dropped off by residents at the local facilities, they are then collected by electronic, paint, tire and used oil recyclers, who are registered with the AMRA.

“They’re responsible for going to communities and loading up all the material that residents have dropped off or that was generated through a (curbside) roundup, take them back to their facility and are recycled,” said Schultz. “All of this material is truly recycled. It’s our job to manage the material with recyclers to make sure it’s made into another commodity and it’s kept out of the waste stream.”

Kristine Jean, TownandCountryToday.com



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