RCA Honours 2017 Rs of Excellence Award Winners
The 2017 Rs of Excellence Awards were presented at the RCA’s Waste Reduction Conference “It Takes a Village” banquet evening at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on October 12, 2017.
2017 Disaster Waste Reduction Award: Staff of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s Solid Waste Branch
In 2016, during the Horse River Wildfire event and subsequent recovery period, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Solid Waste branch was evacuated, returned to firefight on the landfill, make good on essential repairs, and reopened within ten days. The collections group cleared a city’s worth of residential and commercial waste on a skeleton crew before the residents could return. The landfill crew then went on to receive more than double the annual amount of waste in eight months of which over 70% was reused or recycled. This award recognizes the Herculean efforts and sacrifice all staff provided to assist with the recovery, and at the same time produce a very commendable level of waste reduction.
2017 3Rs Innovation Award: Beaver Municipal Solutions’ Upcycle Challenge
Beaver Municipal Solutions sponsored an Upcycle Challenge for residents, businesses, institutions and community groups located in Beaver County. They were asked to create a new, saleable product from materials in the waste stream. After registering, entrants tracked the process they used to create their product. An external judging panel determined the winners. In addition to the prize money, Beaver Municipal Solutions provided an additional award to the first prize winner for the development of a new cottage industry. First prize was awarded to Morley Knudslien for his tire covers made from old bill boards. “Got It Covered” was launched during Environment Week.
2017 Rural Recycling Award: Wheatland County Grain Bag Rolling Program
In Wheatland County, many grain bags were burned or sent to landfill. In the fall of 2015, Wheatland County Agricultural Services began implementation of a grain bag recycling pilot program. A County seasonal employee took the County’s rental grain-bag roller out to farms to provide proper cleaning and rolling of grain bags. A partnership was forged between the County, Merlin Plastics & Crowfoot Plastics – to collect and recycle grain bags into products like garbage bags.
The newly offered municipal service was so well-received by the community that in 2017 the Wheatland County Agricultural Services Board voted to recommend to council that the program be incorporated into the regular, permanent services of the County.
2017 Municipal Program Award: Town of Taber Municipal Solid Waste Initiative
For many years, large commercial-sized bins were used for all waste in Taber, with few options for recycling or composting, and a diversion rate of only 6%. The Town implemented the Municipal Solid Waste Initiative (MSWI) in 2016, introducing three carts for recycling, organic waste and residual waste. Recycling is the largest bin, followed by organics, with residual waste the smallest, in order to provide the necessary momentum for residents to switch to recycling and composting. The project led to an entire culture shift in Taber, and a diversion rate close to 70%. The Town of Taber is proud to be the frontrunner for organics inclusion in Southern Alberta, and has since been able to aid other municipalities as they research cart-based systems as well as organics collection.
2017 Corporate Leadership Award: Centennial Place, Oxford Properties
Centennial Place is a 1.3 million square foot office complex located in the heart of Calgary’s Eau Claire District, operated by Oxford Properties Group. Centennial Place opened in 2010 with a LEED Gold certification, and was the first Alberta building to achieve LEED Platinum O&M in 2015. Centennial Place had a diversion rate of 90% in 2017, working to become a Zero Waste Building. Communication, education and extensive programming are key success elements. The property includes a waste sorting station where discarded materials are inspected to maximize diversion. The program includes Organics, Mixed Recycling, Specialty Items (cigarette butts, electronics, pens and markers, and coffee pods). They also work closely with agencies to recover as many reusable items as possible and donate them into the community.