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2002 Waste — Co-winner 1

City of Red Deer, Alberta

Not In My Backyard! The City of Red Deer’s New Waste Management Facility

Population: 68,000

A 10-year process came to fruition in September 2001, with the opening of the City of Red Deer's new waste management facility and landfill. Designed well above the minimum standards set by the provincial department of health, the facility incorporates 160 acres of landfill and preserves an existing wetland. The site also houses recycling and composting areas, and an interpretive centre where 1,000 schoolchildren have learned about recycling and reducing waste. Among other features of the facility, some of the landfill's leachate is recirculated, which speeds up decomposition and increases the rate of landfill gas production, thereby making the site more viable for methane gas recovery.


The City of Red Deer's strategic plan sets out its long-term vision for the community. A guiding principle is that the conservation and protection of the natural environment must be considered in all city operations. Quality of life goals are also a high priority and include many sustainability elements, such as maintaining effective public transportation and working with other orders of government, business and the community to conserve the natural environment.

As part of the strategic plan, each municipal department must develop a detailed three-year business plan that advances the city's principles and goals. The waste management department set a much longer planning horizon when it developed a solid waste master plan that looks ahead 25 to 30 years. The plan's goals are to:

  • develop an affordable and sustainable waste management system;
  • recognize that the "4Rs" of waste management (reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery) will reduce dependence on landfill;
  • give the public an opportunity to voice its concerns and ideas; and
  • stagger the implementation of programs and facilities so they are in place at the right time.


  • Without a new landfill site, Red Deer would have faced the expense of transporting waste 100 kilometres.
  • Commercial waste loads are monitored and businesses are contacted to provide information about waste reduction, and the city's reuse and recycling activities.
  • Materials were reused at the site. For example, topsoil from residential subdivisions was used to create berms (raised banks of grass that surround the site's borders). Paving stones made of recycled tires and decking material fabricated from recycled plastic were used at the interpretive centre.
  • In response to citizens' concerns, landfill users can drive on a paved surface and drop waste into bins, instead of having to drive up to the tipping face.

Lessons Learned

  • Meaningful public input needs to be sought early. The city's proactive approach helped it identify public concerns and fully address them before the landfill opened.
  • The creation of a buffer zone-seldom done in landfill siting projects-allows the city to control the area by providing a reasonable setback from neighbouring developments.
  • Hiring an independent technical consultant gave added weight to staff recommendations on site planning.
  • Staff communicated with other area municipalities to establish best practices and learn from others' experiences.



  • Red Deer River Naturalists
  • Citizens Action Group on the Environment


  • Public Works, Planning, Parks departments
  • Environmental Advisory Board
Page Updated: 21/12/2015