City of Lethbridge Roadmap Summary
In December 2019, workshop participants explored how to incorporate Circular Cities concepts into strategies for the City of Lethbridge. The Circular Cities model keeps products and materials circulating at their highest utility and value, through waste prevention, improved design, reuse, recycling, remanufacturing and innovative business models.
Continue to work together
to ensure that Lethbridge demonstrates active leadership in environmental stewardship and innovation and is recognized as being a safe, healthy, vibrant and prosperous, economically viable place where all people can participate in community life.
Lethbridge is Alberta’s third-largest city, with a stable population of multi-generational families. It has a high population of students for much of the year, and an economy focused on health, education, retail and hospitality services, and government. Agriculture and industry are also key economic drivers. The city has one of the largest urban park systems per capita in Western Canada.
Clean air and water conservation are priorities, and in recent years trees have been planted to support the goal of climate resiliency. Lethbridge generates slightly less waste than the Alberta average, with 16 percent of residential waste diverted to recycling. Lethbridge is promoting and enabling alternative energy sources such as wind, biogas and solar power to encourage a transition to renewable energy.
What’s already underway?
Lethbridge has a number of existing circular programs, including an interactive map with information about recycling, sharing platforms, local repair shops and zero-waste retailers.
Clothing & Food
The Lethbridge Sustainable Living Association hosts clothing and tool and garden swaps a few times a year to exchange items that are still useful.
Lethbridge Biogas | Anaerobic digestion of organics creates renewable energy that is captured and added back into the grid
Full Circle Plastics | Locally-sourced 100 percent post-consumer plastic is used to make a variety of products including fence posts and boards
Reuse Rendezvous | This event uses an interactive map to show locations of items being given away for reuse
Ideas & Knowledge
The Circular Cities consultation included representatives from the areas of planning, corporate sustainability, waste and recycling services, infrastructure, parks, fleet, transportation, facility services, financier services, asset management, real estate and land development, and electric.
Participants hope to build on existing relationships with surrounding communities, educational and research institutions, as well as large-scale commercial and industrial partners within the agriculture and agri-food sector.
We can share resources such as equipment, tools, and bikes.
Let’s create regional hubs to help us recycle, reuse, repair and repurpose materials.
How can we engage and collaborate with students, businesses and other stakeholders?
We can do more to increase energy efficiency and promote renewable energy options.
Challenging businesses and other organizations to act as champions and work together on solutions could help Lethbridge move toward a circular economy. Promotion and outreach are key. Challenges include a lack of awareness and cooperation, as well as regulatory limitations.
What are potential actions?
Move shared resources from place to place
Mobile sharing services
Resource ‘libraries’ of clothing, equipment, toys, tools and camping gear could move between community hubs and neighbourhoods, allowing more people to access them.
Rethink standard practice
Circular procurement plan
Involve multiple groups and departments in developing strategies that consider social and environmental outcomes as well as economic factors.
Create space for innovation
Encourage collaboration between the City, organizations and institutions, allowing industry to take the lead in exploring ideas and developing best practices.
Do more within a smaller footprint
High-density smart development
High-density, mixed-use spaces can house more people while sharing resources such as community gardens, public spaces and resources.
Share rather than duplicate
Share regional infrastructure
Lethbridge and surrounding communities can partner on sharing infrastructure such as equipment to conserve budget, maintenance and materials.
Re-Feed | Work as a community to avoid food wastage
Connect with nature| Educate through programs focused on the natural environment
Rethink transport | Investigate energy-efficient fleet vehicles
Alternate forms of energy | Provide support such as electric vehicle charging stations
Cluster sustainable businesses | Create a one-stop hub for businesses supporting re-use and zero waste options
Positive agricultural and agri-food practices | Encourage composting, mulching and reduction of food waste
Learn about circular initiatives in action
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
& Other Resources
This foundation has created an online suite of resources that can help cities transition to a circular economy. Fact sheets, policy levers, networks and case studies are all available.
Explore other communities
We thank Alberta EcoTrust and The Alberta Government’s Community Environment Action Grant for your support of this project.
The Circular Cities project supports the RCA’s primary mission to promote, facilitate and advocate for a Circular Economy in Alberta through waste reduction and resource conservation. For more information contact us or call 403.843.6563.