Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Looking Ahead to 2017!

2016 was a great year for our team at the City. The dedication and enthusiasm of MCRs played an important role in this success. We're excited for things to come in 2017!

For the MCR Program in 2017

  • Introducing a Waste Video of the Week, every Wednesday
  • New volunteer roles at Compost ‘S cool
  • Sharing the online version of MCR Training with all existing MCRs
  • Hosting “Refresher Training sessions” every three months.
  • Receiving new toys at Compost ‘S cool

Edmonton’s waste services has many impressive employees. From engineers at the EWMC, operators at the plants, collectors on trucks, attendants at Eco Stations, presenters in schools, to canvassers at doorsteps. The men and women who keep the system running are smart, passionate, and innovative folks.
But Sarah and Rodney are lucky because we get to see the amazing things that volunteers do for Edmonton’s waste system. MCRs are universally smart, passionate, and innovative.

From Rodney

I am still learning to be a dad, but I deeply appreciate that “it takes a village to raise a child.” One of the many gifts that my son and daughter have already received in life is the gift of community and volunteerism here in Edmonton.

I am ever grateful to MCRs (people like you) for what you do to reduce waste and help Edmonton’s waste system. You give your skills, your time, your passion, and your creativity by speaking up and by telling friends and family that waste matters.
At a personal level, I am sincerely grateful to MCRs (and you) for making Edmonton a better place for my children, and for future generations. Thank you.
“A some point, everything will be discarded, and yet none of it is garbage.”

From Sarah

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- I really do consider myself lucky to work with such an amazing, passionate group of volunteers. Master Composter Recyclers are giving, thoughtful Edmontonians who truly want a better, greener future for our city and our planet.

Part of my job is to teach MCRs about Edmonton’s waste system, but I have learned so much from my fellow MCRs. This community has been invaluable in helping me to shift my behaviours, thoughts, and actions to sustainable alternatives. We challenge and inspire each other to be better every day.

Thank you for a great year, and here’s to less waste in 2017!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Holiday Waste: What Goes Where?

As you clean up from your holiday celebrations, it's important to do the right thing with your waste. Use these tips to sort your holiday waste, or check out our sorting app, WasteWise.

What can I reuse?
Consider donating unwanted items to a local thrift shop, charity or to the Reuse Centre.
  • Decorations
  • Wrapping paper and bows
  • Gift bags and boxes
  • Packing peanuts
  • Bubble wrap
  • Tissue paper
What goes in my household recycling?
Keep your recycling clean, loose, and dry for your blue bag or your apartment blue bin. Residents can also bring items to one of Edmonton's 20 community recycling depots.
  • Paper - wrapping paper (non-metallic), holiday cards, envelopes
  • Cardboard - shipping boxes, cardboard packaging, gift boxes
  • Plastic - shopping bags, pop bottles, containers (e.g. yogurt tubs, clamshell packages)
  • Metal - pop cans, aluminum pie plates, tin cans
  • Glass - beverage bottles, food jars
What about Eco Stations?
Some unwanted items contain hazardous materials or are difficult to recycle. Bring them to an Eco Station for free and safe disposal:
  • Strings of lights
  • Small appliances
  • Obsolete electronics
  • Old batteries
  • Household chemicals
Never put Eco Station items in your blue bag or garbage. Also take large items like furniture and major appliances to an Eco Station for proper disposal (fees apply).

What goes in the garbage?
Not everything can be recycled. Some holiday waste should go in the garbage.
  • Food waste
  • Styrofoam packaging
  • Soiled napkins and paper plates
  • Candy wrappers
  • Metallic gift wrap
  • Plastic cutlery
Check out more tips and tricks at

Download WasteWise for free on iTunes or Google Play, or use it online at

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How this MCR Won It All at the Movies by MCR Melissa S.

I pride myself on retaining and recalling facts and information quickly and accurately. This pride was put to the test recently in the most interesting way that involved Trolls, my daughter, and a phone app.

Back in November, my daughter and I decided to go see the fluffy kids film Trolls. We bused to an appointment on 23rd Avenue and then walked to the Cineplex Odeon South Edmonton Cinemas. After arriving and buying tickets and snacks, we settled in for a relaxing mom/daughter date night.

I like to play TimePlay, which tests those recall skills I had been so proud of, particularly when it involves something I am knowledgeable movies. If you're not familiar with TimePlay, it's a game where you use your cell phone to answer skill testing trivia and do fine dexterity challenges to win Scene Points. These points will get you free movies and other swag.

I loaded the app and got ready to play.

The first few questions were pretty standard ones, such as ranking movies in order of release date or selecting the movies which had Justin Timberlake in them. 

I was feeling pretty confident in my knowledge and answered these questions easily.

Then came the next challenge. A question popped up on the screen that read, “Where does shredded paper belong?” 

I panicked! 

The options were, compost, garbage, recycling and some other fourth thing. I was second guessing myself, thinking this was a trick question but then I realized it was being timed and so I chose garbage. I looked at my daughter and she could see the panic on my face. She said (in her teenager voice), “Mom, you know this stuff, don’t you?” 

I must admit that being put on the spot had me wondering. The next few questions were also about waste, and luckily for me I got them all right and ended up winning the top spot in the theater. Granted, I was playing against a bunch of 8-year-olds and their parents. Still, I felt accomplished! I didn’t get much of a reward but I am 50 points closer to a free movie.

After the game was done, an ad came up for the City's new WasteWise app. I knew then that perhaps a refresher might be in order, and I signed up for the Recycling Refresher at the Reuse Center later in November.

The moral of the story: keep your skills and knowledge sharp because you may need to recall them in the strangest of settings!

All photos provided by Melissa
MCR Melissa S. completed her training in 2014. She is passionate about reusing and upcycling, and she has Christmas ornaments made from bottle caps and corks hanging on her tree.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Create Memories Not Waste

The City of Edmonton encourages you to reduce your holiday waste this season. It may be a time of celebration with elaborate meals, gift exchanges and festive decorations But there are still ways you can cut down on holiday waste  and help the City achieve its goal of diverting 90 per cent of residential waste from landfill.

Here are some tips on how to reduce your holiday waste:
  • Provide memory-making experiences as gifts, like tickets
    to a concert or sporting event, or a family outing to a City attraction.
  • Give gift certificates for your special skills such as haircuts, child minding or household repairs.
  • Rethink the way you package your presents: consider using scarves, festive flyers or cookie tins. Reuse wrapping materials and decorations from last season.
  • Avoid food waste: plan your food in advance, freeze left-overs and donate unopened treats to the food bank.
  • After the holidays make sure you recycle boxes, paper (including all non-foil gift wrap), plastic and glass containers, cans and aluminum trays.
  • Keep gift bags, tissues and bows to reuse next year, or donate them the City’s Reuse Centre.
  • Make sure to drop off your old electronics at the Eco Station and donate that festive sweater to charity.
Edmonton’s household waste doubles for the two weeks following December 25. Help reduce waste this holiday season by thinking of innovative ideas and sharing them on social media using the hashtag #wastelessholidays.

Visit for more information.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Showcasing the Newest Collection Trucks

With so many cities moving toward automated collection, it's become hard to purchase collection trucks that are easy and safe to operate for hand collectors. So, collectors are excited to show off the newest trucks in Edmonton's collection fleet.

Two collectors watching a demonstration of a new collection vehicle.
Collectors place garbage in the yellow bucket, and then use an automated arm to lift and dump the garbage into the truck's compactor compartment. The low height of the bucket is better for the repetitive lifting and throwing that our collectors do, and is expected to reduce the strain on collectors.

The driver operates the arm from within the cab of the truck.
The new trucks are shorter than our current vehicles, making them easier to maneuver in alleys, parking lots, and other tight spaces, but they still carry the same volume of waste. Multiple cameras will help the driver see more and stay safe. The driver also sits higher, which improves visibility. 

In addition to being better for collectors, these trucks would provide a smooth transition to automated collection if that occurs in the future. The bucket can be easily switched out for the proper attachment to pick up bins. 

Collectors are currently training on one of these trucks, with 13 more on order.

Old vs. New
  • These automated trucks are about one metre shorter than the manual collection trucks, so they can be used in narrower spaces.
  • The new trucks have five cameras for safety, rather than the single rear-view camera on the current trucks.
  • The new trucks cost a little more than the current manual collection trucks. But, the new trucks offer more versatility, enhanced safety features, and speedier waste collection.
Photographs provided by the City of Edmonton