Public Encouraged to Recycle as Material Received Decreases
Aquatera Utilities in Grande Prairie has seen has seen a reduction in volumes of material being received, as well as the number of visits from the public as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the drop in recycling, Aquatera CEO Vaughn Bend says they are continuing to maintain all essential waste management, recycling and other services without interruption.
“Our essential services are operating (without) interruption. That goes for waste and recycling as well,” he said.
“The pandemic has had an impact on the volumes that we’re seeing and the number of visits from the public, but we want folks to know that we are still operating.”
Related efforts, such as those of the Alberta Zero-Waste Champions, are challenging citizens to practise waste reduction and increase recycling efforts throughout the pandemic.
Other groups including the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA), Waste Free Edmonton (WFE), Plastic-Free YYC and Environment Lethbridge are also sharing a common message for residents to continue practising public safety measures and social distancing, while also actively making choices to improve the environment.
“Alberta has excellent examples of reduction efforts across the province including reuse, repair and recycling businesses, events, groups and communities,” said Christina Seidel, executive director of the RCA.
“While some of these organizations have had to shut down temporarily or limit hours, there are still many actions people can take with the environment in mind.”
Furthermore, a study conducted by the RCA in 2018 on the economic benefits of recycling highlighted Alberta’s recycling sector as having generated $700 million in capital value in 2018 and supported over 7,500 direct jobs.
To further assist in ongoing recycling efforts, and to ensure more product is properly recycled, Bend recommended any interested individuals visit the Aquatera website for tips on how to properly prepare recyclable materials for reprocessing, as well as defining what can and cannot be recycled.
“One of the ways we do (so) is we communicate fairly regularly with our customers, particularly around contaminated recycling, as that is something that significantly impacts recycling efforts,” Bend said.
“There has been a significant shift in people’s lifestyles, so I think (practising) more care and attention around what people are buying, are they able to reduce the packaging they are bringing home, and how can the packaging can be properly prepared for recycling will make a huge impact going forward.”