Council approves new Waste Bylaw
City Council has approved a new Waste Bylaw (20363), which will enable changes to waste services—including the expansion of separate food scraps and recycling collection to apartments and condominiums—and help improve resident experience.
Increasing the separate collection of food scraps and recyclables will help keep more waste out of the landfill and reduce emissions. City Council approved this program for apartments and condominiums in April 2022, and the new bylaw is the next step in bringing the service to 167,000 residences across almost 3,400 properties—a process that will take place between the fall of 2023 and 2027.
“By taking a measured approach and rolling out the new program in phases, we’ll be able to listen to residents and adjust as we go,” said Denis Jubinville, Branch Manager, Waste Services.
The bylaw requires that disposal locations—such as chutes, bins or carts—for each type of waste be close to one another and equally accessible to residents. The City will work with individual properties to ensure this requirement can be met.
“We know many residents want to do their part for the environment, and this program will give them that opportunity,” said Jubinville. “Not only will we send less waste to the landfill and help preserve the environment, but this change will make waste service consistent for all Edmontonians.”
In addition to the enabling changes to apartment and condo collection, the new bylaw gives all residents more flexibility in the liners they use in food scraps containers. The City initially required that any plastic bags used in food scraps carts be BPI/BNQ-certified compostable. However, in practice, compostable plastics do not fully break down in most City and regional industrial processing facilities and, as a result, are removed from the organics stream during processing. Instead, residents can now use any paper or plastic bag as a liner.
“With more flexibility, we hope that more residents will be able to fully participate in waste sorting,” said Jubinville. “This would mean fewer food scraps in our garbage stream, and more progress towards the City’s environmental goals.”
In terms of environmental impact, the best approach is to avoid the use of any bags or lining. This also makes the City’s composting process more efficient and reduces costs. If residents prefer to line their food scraps containers or carts, a paper bag or newspaper are the next best options, followed by compostable bags or new or reused plastic bags.
Since the Edmonton Cart Rollout in 2021, residents have adapted well: almost 90 per cent of residents say they are familiar with waste sorting, and 98 per cent are setting out their carts correctly.