Ponoka sends much less waste to landfill

In just several months of operation, the new waste management program has helped reduce garbage going to the dump by just over 50 per cent.

In just several months of being in operation, the new waste management program has helped reduce garbage going to the dump by just over 50 per cent.

That was one of the key details passed out Wednesday, April 27 during the Town of Ponoka’s update on the program. CAO Albert Flootman told attendees in an open house at Kinsmen community centre that from October to December last year the town collected 86,000 kgs of landfill waste while from January to March 42,000 kgs were picked up. “These are numbers worth celebrating.”

He said that while there are some concerns about the smell of garbage during the summer months with a bi-weekly pickup, the intention is to encourage recycling. First and foremost for the town is being a good steward of the land.

Landfills are also expensive to operate. Flootman said a landfill is highly engineered and takes planning and development before being approved. In some cases, getting approval can be problematic as the province is pushing for a more sustainable program.

While some residents have raised concerns that garbage collection costs $6 more per month and is being reduced to bi-weekly pickups, Flootman said two other streams of collection have been added to the program: recycling and yard waste.

“Before the program, we estimate that Ponoka was diverting 90 per cent of our waste to the landfill,” explained Flootman.

Considering the province’s mandate to divert 80 per cent of waste away from the landfill, the town needed to act and make changes, he said.

Had the town continued with the same waste management program, a contract update would have been required, which would have added $8 per month to the program and no recycling.

As for the yard waste, this also helps reduce the amount of composte going to the landfill. The greens bins in the town are where residents can put their yard waste. Collections for yard waste have already started with collections occurring weekly until October 31. Residents can also take their bins to the town transfer site if they desire.

Flootman told residents that the program is in its early months of operation and planners hope to have further statistics annually that will help clarify the amount of waste being diverted.

The evening concluded with a presentation by the Recycling Council of Alberta followed by one-on-one questions from residents to planners.