Thursday, December 1, 2016

Are You Satisfied with the City's Waste Services?

Results of Fall 2016 Survey

If so, you’re in good company! Every year the City conducts a survey to determine how satisfied residents are with their waste services and how much they participate in waste programs. We do this to measure key performance indicators, such as recycling participation and the level of satisfaction with specific services. We use this information to identity areas for improvement, to figure out where our advertising dollars need to go to raise awareness for our services and facilities, and to continue to help residents properly sort their waste.
This year’s fall survey showed strong results in both the customer experience and participation in sustainable waste activities. Edmontonians really do care about their environment and the impacts their waste can have, and we love hearing from you!
Overall, residents are pleased with the services we provide! Of the residents surveyed, 93 percent of single family homeowners said they were satisfied with their garbage and recycling collection. This statistic is marginally higher than last year’s results. Families living in apartments and condominiums remained steady at 86 per cent satisfaction. Edmontonians continue to show their dedication to diverting waste from landfill with participation in the City’s voluntary blue bag recycling remaining high at 91 per cent.
Eco Stations play an important role in the proper handling of household hazardous waste. The number of residents who took items to an Eco Station (in the last year) also remains consistent at 63 per cent; however, the number of visits per resident is up this year by 0.6 per cent. Of the residents who have visited an Eco Station in the last 12 months, 93 per cent reported being satisfied with their experience.
What’s better than reusing waste or recycling? Reducing! That’s why we’re excited about the increase to 66 per cent for awareness of the Reuse Centre, up from 49 per cent in 2012. In addition to being a drop-off facility, the Reuse Centre provides unique items for organizations and individuals to pick up. For just $5, people can take up to 5 kg of product! The Reuse Centre also offers ongoing programs such as crafting workshops, and offers space rental at affordable prices for meetings and children’s birthday parties, so be sure to check it out!
Another proud achievement for Edmonton is the increase in the City’s grasscycling program – Go Bagless. Of Edmontonians who have a lawn to mow, 63 per cent reported leaving their grass clippings on the lawn all or most of the time in 2016, which increased from 58 per cent in 2015. This program, which has been running for several years, is an excellent example of social marketing and the positive impacts it can have for our city and its environment.
We’d like to thank everyone who participated! Survey engagement was high this year with 801 Edmontonians participating in online interviews. The survey targeted Edmonton residents 18 years or older, who are the primary decision makers of their household, between October 6 and 20, 2016.
“These survey results show that there’s a lot of community support for waste programs and that residents continue to be active participants in waste reduction, reuse and recycling, fully supporting our goal to divert waste from landfill,” says Connie Boyce, Director of Community Relations with Utility Services. “These results help us measure the impact of our programs and prioritize our efforts to continue improving customer service.”
For more information on programs and services, visit Lastly, a big thank you to all Edmontonians who reduce, reuse, recycle and/or simply take the time to set out their waste correctly — your efforts make this city safer and cleaner!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What Happens to Your TV?

Do you know what happens to your TV once you've taken it to an Eco Station?

Televisions and other e-waste items are packaged and delivered to the Global Electric Electronic Processing (GEEP) at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre for recycling.

Workers at GEEP remove the plastic casing from around computer monitors and televisions. 

The yoke is removed from cathode ray tube (CRT) televisions and the copper wiring is taken out.

The tubes are removed and sent to a company that will separate and recycle the glass and lead.

Workers remove circuit boards and other components from televisions, monitors and computer cases. 

The circuit boards and other e-waste components are sent through a chain shredder where they are pulverized. This releases individual materials for recycling.

Ferrous metals like steel are separated out via an electromagnet. Non-ferrous metals like aluminum, brass, and copper are recovered by an eddy current separator.

Workers on a sorting line also help remove materials like motors, transformers, stainless steel parts, circuit boards, and mixed plastics. 

Shredded plastics are separated out and sorted using advanced machinery.

Recovered materials can then be used in the manufacture of new products. This reduces the need for plastics production and mining of precious metals. 

- Photos provided by the City of Edmonton


Monday, November 21, 2016

Myth or Fact: Bare Soil Before Winter

"Should my soil be clean and bare, so it can breathe over winter?"


A thin layer of mulch over your garden beds will help keep the soil alive and well in the cold winter months. Bare soil is dying soil.

Many of us are busy preparing our yards and gardens for winter. We tend to rip everything out of the garden and leave our bare soil to endure the harsh winter ahead. This is not the best thing to do.

Mulch is a layer of organics (often wood chips or chopped up plant material from pruning) that will break down over time and help the soil stay alive. Soil can breathe easily through the mulch. A good mulch layer protects the soil from the cold winds that would dry out bare soil and kill soil microbes. Mulch also protects the soil from snow cover during winter, providing warmth and keeping moisture in.

Mulch it up!
The cheapest and easiest way to get mulch is to gather prunings from your garden clean-up, cut them up into 2 - 5 cm pieces, and scatter them over your garden soil to create a protective layer. Smaller pieces will break down more quickly into the soil. You can also use wood chips, but these are often harder to find and will take a while to break down depending on the size. During the gardening season, you can also add grass clippings as a mulch to protect your soil while the garden is in use.

By mulching your soil you will be
  • protecting it from the wind
  • allowing soil microbes to thrive
  • helping the soil to stay moist
Want to learn more?
Image source: Senior Gardening


Monday, November 14, 2016

Businesses Invited to Tap into "Circular Economy"

Is your business keen to reduce waste and boost efficiency? Or close loops in production and tap into new markets?

Join the City of Edmonton, along with the National Zero Waste Council and the Recycling Council of Alberta for a business luncheon and learning opportunity. Prominent corporate social responsibility expert, Coro Strandberg, will share tips for incorporating circular approaches to business strategy, design innovation and stakeholder engagement. She will also share the National Zero Waste Council’s new Circular Economy Business Toolkit.

Date: Tuesday, November 15 , 2016 
Time: 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  
Location:  Heritage Room, City Hall
Cost:Free of charge; Pre-registration required

Register to reserve your spot, as space is limited!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WasteWise Top Ten

WasteWise, our sorting app, launched roughly one month ago. To date, the app has been downloaded over 4,000 times, and over 31,000 item searches have been made.

We know that some items cause a lot of confusion for residents. WasteWise is a quick source of answers, and also provides us with up-to-date data on which items Edmontonians need to know about.

We pulled together the top ten most-searched items. Test yourself, and test your friends!
Do you know where these items go? 
  1. Pizza box - 905 hits
  2. Shredded paper - 624 hits
  3. Styrofoam - 595 hits
  4. Plastic wrap - 511 hits
  5. Plastic take-out container - 467 hits
  6. Plastic bag - 463 hits
  7. Plastic container - 427 hits
  8. Aluminum foil - 398 hits
  9. Metal food can - 376 hits
  10. Styrofoam egg carton - 351 hits
Stumped? Check your WasteWise app for the answers!
WasteWise on Google Play or iTunes.

Did you know?
Users can also suggest search terms if they don't find what they're looking for. Some of the most interesting suggestions include "Donald Trump," "ex-boyfriend," and "ten pin bowling ball."