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City marks Environment Week with new waste disposal pilot

​Lethbridge residents will soon have another convenient way to safely dispose of items such as household hazardous waste (HHW), electronic waste, batteries and paint.

Lethbridge City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to direct Administration to implement a pilot program for toxic/e-waste round-ups.

The Waste and Recycling Utility (WRU) pilot will offer three round-up events with no utility rate increase. The events will be held within the city limits to encourage resident participation and increase the amount of HHW and e-waste diverted from the landfill. Based on waste composition studies, up to three per cent of black cart materials that are considered HHW and e-waste could be diverted from the landfill. Using 2021 black cart tonnage, this represents 600 tonnes of HHW and e-waste materials that could be diverted.

"The diversion of household hazardous wastes and e-wastes helps to protect the environment by having these materials handled and processed in the best way possible," says Deputy Mayor Jenn Schmidt-Rempel, who is also chair of Economic Standing Policy Committee which at its May 18 meeting made the recommendation to Council. "Additional programing that supports and promotes additional diversion would be a benefit to our community."

"The new focus is on environmentally sustainable waste management practices with emphasis on waste prevention and waste diversion," says Mandi Parker, General Manager of Waste and Recycling. "This pilot will be an effective way to determine if these types of events are still viable and impactful in the community."

Previous round-ups were eliminated in 2018 when a dedicated HHW public drop off site at the Waste & Recycling Centre (WRC) was opened year-round with dedicated staff to handle and safely dispose the materials.

As part of Tuesday's approval, Administration is to report back to Council with outcomes after the one-year pilot program and make the appropriate recommendations in terms of operational budget requirements, if needed.