News / Edmonton

'It’s disappointing': City audit finds waste service falling far short of goal

City council set a target of diverting 90 per cent of the waste going into landfill, yet a new report finds the city if falling far short of its recycling and composting aims

The city will be reviewing the audit report on the waste facility that was once considered the best.

Kevin Tuong / for metro

The city will be reviewing the audit report on the waste facility that was once considered the best.

An auditor's report of the city's waste managment system has found that only half of the city's waste is being diverted from the landfill into compost and recyling--which is nowhere near the 90 per cent goal set in 2007.

“It’s disappointing to have been at the forefront perhaps 10 or 15 years ago... clearly something went off track in our waste management system,” said Mayor Don Iveson.

“It is what it is, but the point is we have to get it back on track.”

City residents generates one million tons of waste every year. Garbage ends up at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre, the facility tasked with seperating it into recycling and compost, with a small remaining portion sent to landfill.

But the report, which was discussed by committee Friday, suggests that the city’s waste processing services have fallen behind other municipalities in the country.

Doug Jones, deputy city manager of operations, says it would help if the public made more of an effort to seperate all recyclables in a clear blue bag, which would reduce the amount of sorting that needed to be done at the management centre.

“Things that are relatively simple can make a big difference,” he said. “Edmontonians have shown they are passionate about the environment and recycling and we think a good majority of them will adopt that fairly quickly.”

Iveson says their new short term goal is to get to 65 per cent of waste diverted from the landfill, and then 95 per cent in the long term.

He confirmed council will be considering a two-bin or three-bin system in the upcoming committee meeting on Feb 23--meaning recyclables would have to be sorted into different bins based on type, rather than going into a single, blue bag.

“The community around us do it, people all over the world do it. It’s  probably time for Edmonton to move in that direction as well,” Iveson said.

Iveson says he is now committed to make sure the city “shoots for excellence again," when it comes to waste management.

“We were there once we can get there again.”

More on Metronews.ca