Lethbridge’s Business Waste Strategy

Connector Winter 2016

Lethbridge businesses are on their way to increasing waste diversion since Lethbridge City Council approved a Waste Diversion Policy in July 2015. Targets include the residential sector, Industrial, Commercial & Institutional (ICI) and Construction & Demolition (C&D) sectors over the next 15 years. The policy aligns with City Council’s Environmental Policy which aims to minimize Lethbridge’s ecological footprint by using natural resources efficiently.

The ICI and C&D sectors contribute approximately 75% of the total waste received at the landfill, and City of Lethbridge administration presented a strategy targeting the business sector’s current waste practices. The strategy aligns with Lethbridge City Council’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan, which calls for the initiation of an ICI waste diversion strategy. This strategy was built after stakeholder engagement sessions facilitated by sonnevera international corp. and Ipsos Reid in 2013 where administration learned more about the challenges and opportunities of waste diversion at the business level. Separate sessions were held for the ICI and C&D sectors and also included a session for processors and haulers.

Lethbridge ICI and CD Schedule 2016-2020In August 2015, administration briefed Council on potential implementation schedules for the diversion strategy. Each of these tiered approaches started with education, followed by surcharges for targeted materials, and finally, regulations which could include mandatory recycling and/or disposal bans. Lethbridge City Council requested the strategy be implemented over a 5 year time frame, with tipping rates increasing $10/t every year. The strategy aligns with the Waste Diversion Policy targets of reducing commercial waste generation by 25% in the next 5 years. While program success hinges on the compliance and participation from the business community, City of Lethbridge administration is prepared to work and engage with the business sector to ensure their commitment and understanding of the opportunities for waste diversion.

Submitted by Allyson Racz, City of Lethbridge