Annual conference stresses importance of waste reduction

A garbage truck dumps a load at the Prince Albert landfill. – Screencap from City of Prince Albert Youtube page.

An annual conference held earlier this week hoped to teach some of the city’s youngest residents ways they can reduce the amount they send to the landfill.

The annual Waste Reduction Week Conference was held at Plaza 88 Tuesday. It attracted about 250 people, mostly students, from a handful of area schools.

The conference included presentations about recycling, composting and the Repair Café.

“There are a number of programs we talked about today that will help people reduce what they send to the landfill,” said city spokesperson Kiley Bear.

“Locally, people can use the blue bin recycling program, they can go to the Repair Café to bring in household items for fixing and they can compost in their homes to keep food waste out of the landfill.”

Bear said that the city sent 87 million kilograms of waste to the landfill last year.

“At that rate, we’re filling it up pretty quickly,” she said. “The more we can divert, the less we have to invest to expand the size of the landfill.”

Reducing, reusing, recycling and composting is good for the environment too.

“It’s for tomorrow,” said Nisar Ghani, the city’s sanitation manager.

“We want to have a clean environment for tomorrow.”

One of the speakers at this year’s event was Keri Sapsford of Compost Corner. Her business offers a weekly compost collection for residential and commercial customers, as well as education services and waste-free stations for events.

“Forty per cent of the stuff we send to the landfill is organics and could be composted,” she said.

“Instead of wasting all of those nutrients, we’re actually putting them back into the soil and making it better.”

 Sapsford said it’s not difficult to start composting.

“It’s a natural process. We’re just helping the process along. As long as you’ve got all of the ingredients you need in there, it composts naturally.”

Sapsford said composting is vital if a community wants to hit its waste reduction targets. Composting has the added benefit of reducing your carbon footprint and improving your soil, she said

The third annual waste reduction conference was the largest yet. Speakers are already being lined up for next year, and the hope is to keep growing the event and spreading the word.

Ghani said the message the city wants to get across is a simple one.

“Our message for the residents of Prince Albert (is) to reduce and divert waste from the landfill.”