Strathcona County Roadmap Summary
In January 2020, Strathcona County representatives took part in a Circular Cities strategy workshop led by the RCA. These strategies keep products and materials circulating at their highest utility and value, through waste prevention, improved design, reuse, recycling, remanufacturing and innovative business models.
Encompassing a mix of urban and rural zones, Strathcona County is valued for its beauty, quality of life and natural areas including the Beaver Hills biosphere and North Saskatchewan river valley. This specialized municipality consists of almost 99,000 residents, and hosts 75 percent of Alberta’s petrochemical refining. Efforts towards sustainability and the diversification of energy are continuing, with the County actively supporting efforts to conserve and enhance the quality of air, water and natural systems.
We will continue to work together to ensure that Strathcona County 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 fully participate in public life.
The local economy focuses on five diverse sectors including petrochemical development, agricultural business, manufacturing, retail service and tourism. Investing in a sustainable municipal infrastructure, ensuring effective stewardship of water, land, air and energy resources, and fostering collaboration through regional, community and government partnerships are all prioritized strategic goals for Strathcona County.
Recent environmental initiatives include the Green Routine program designed to divert up to 89 percent of waste from landfill. Multiple conservation projects are in place to reduce water use through efficient systems and stormwater reuse.
What’s already underway?
Strathcona County has a considerable number of sustainability initiatives already underway.
This system, in which buildings are heated by hot water delivered through insulated underground pipes, is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1100 tonnes each year.
Buck’s Auto Parts | Accepts used car parts and vehicles for free, donating some metal to be repurposed
County Double-Decker Bus Services | Transit option allows County residents to travel into downtown Edmonton on weekdays rather than driving
Gold Bar Water| This Epcor partnership reuses effluent water from the wastewater treatment plant
Earthworks | Used gift cards can be dropped off at the Enviroservice Station to recycled into new gift cards
Green Routine 2.0 | Collected green bin organics are composted and provided to local farmers to support crop production
Hodge Podge Lodge | Collects a mishmash of items for reuse or repurpose, especially those which aren’t accepted elsewhere
Mow & Go | County residents are encouraged to leave grass clippings on the lawn, so they can be used as a natural fertilizer and stay out of landfill
Shoe Recycling (Soles4Souls)| Keeps old shoes out of the landfill by donating them to be used again or repaired for resale
Upcycle Strathcona County Facebook Group | Free social media outlet where community residents can post and find upcycled items
Urban Storm and Rural Surface Water Reuse | Alberta Environment and Parks provides licenses to provide non-potable storm and surface water for golf courses, construction projects and tree and park irrigation
Ideas & Knowledge
The Strathcona County consultation brought together representatives in the areas of environmental planning, parks and recreation, agriculture, economic development, family and community services, procurement, transportation, engineering, facility services, and corporate communications.
Harnessing the passion of the younger generation could make all the difference.
How can we get the most out of existing spaces, rather than building new ones?
Let’s find ways to celebrate the excellent stewardship we see around us, and get more residents to take part.
Opportunities include connecting land and resources, creating a more diverse economy, moving policy direction forward, increasing accountability in residents, and reducing red tape to allow use of public spaces for public events, classes and workshops.
Challenges include a lack of economic diversity outside of the core industries of agriculture and oil, the need for a cultural shift to become less risk-adverse, restrictive urban planning practices, under-utilized land and space, and a lack of focus on the potential and expectations of younger residents.
Strathcona County is already acting as a leader for the province through the Circular Cities project, and can continue to advance sustainability and build resiliency through a transition to a more circular economy.
What are potential actions?
Cut red tape
Facilitate space for public workshops, classes and events
Open communication between the public and private sectors with one outcome to develop an availability calendar on when spaces are free to be used.
Make the most of the bionutrient cycle
Promote partnerships that encourage symbiosis, such as exchanging food waste for compost to be used as a fertilizer, or establishing an anaerobic digester that creates compost and energy.
Incorporate sustainable materials and practices
Choose sustainable building materials, service communities with green energy (wind and solar), and establish social and sharing spaces, such as community gardens.
Communicate to youth
Develop a targeted sustainability campaign
Draw on the energy and passion of the younger population to shift culture and create systemic change.
Find a champion or influencer | Identify someone willing to act as spokesperson for circular initiatives
Source grants | Utilize available grants to help with the cost of implementation
Encourage participation | Establish sharing networks and services, monetary and policy incentives, and adaptable spaces to help more people involved
Educate residents | Foster a culture that is proud and supportive of environmental sustainability
Develop community skills | Help citizens to make an impact at the individual level
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.