2013 Waste Category ― Co-winner 1
Town of Vegreville, Alberta
Vegreville Residential Compost Program
Project duration: 2011 to present
Estimated total project value 2011–2015: $321,500
The Town of Vegreville has found a way to deliver cost-effective, residential composting services to its small community. The program will extend the life of the town's landfill without a costly commitment to developing and operating a municipal composting facility.
The town has contracted with local company Growing Power Hairy Hill to generate electricity, distill ethanol, and produce nitrogen-rich soil from waste. The anaerobic digestion process uses a range of materials, including grain and feedlot waste, to create compost. This compost is used to produce green power that is fed into the provincial grid. Diverting compostable material from the town's landfill will extend the site's life and help reduce odours and organic compounds leaching into the soil.
This project, along with the town's extensive recycling program, is helping to change residents' mindsets and encouraging them to be more conscious of the environment and aware of the impacts of their efforts.
- Faced with a landfill site reaching its capacity, Vegreville determined that 40 per cent of waste going into the site during the summer was compostable garden and household waste.
- Handling compost at the landfill site would involve constructing a one- to two-acre treatment site with an effective rainwater control system and secure fencing; processing and testing equipment; and ongoing staffing and training.
- The financial and operational commitment for this development was far beyond Vegreville's current program budget.
- Develop educational materials explaining what can be composted. Contaminated loads are rejected by the composting company and redirected to the landfill. By educating its residents, the town has reduced contaminants to zero.
- Commitment from the community's administration is critical. The Vegreville Town Council dedicated funds for green bins and equipment, allowed sufficient time for staff to develop the project, and participated in the pilot program.