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Material Recovery Facility Grand Opening

Eager grade four and five students from Fleetwood-Bawden Elementary School helped Deputy Mayor, Blaine Hyggen start up the City's new Material Recovery Facility (MRF) today. This comes just ahead of the launch of the city-wide curbside recycling program which starts next week.

The MRF, located at the Waste and Recycling Centre (landfill), will sort and process the City's recycling before it is baled and sold to other companies that will use the material to make new products.

"We're really proud to have this facility up and running," says Deputy Mayor, Blaine Hyggen. "It's fitting that we have students here to help us celebrate the MRF opening. This building is an asset that will help us protect the environment for their future and generations to come. It also helps us grow the programs and services we can offer to our residents to create long-term environmental benefits for Lethbridge."

Talaya Owens was one of 25 students who attended the MRF Grand Opening. Her class is part of Natural Leaders, an environmental program offered through the Helen Schuler Nature Centre. They have spent several months learning about things they can do to be more environmentally friendly, including the benefits of reducing, reusing and recycling.

"I think curbside recycling is a lot more convenient because it takes a lot less time and energy for the citizens of Lethbridge," says Owens. "You don't have to drive to the recycling centre and waste gas. Recycling helps us reduce the pollution in the environment."

The MRF is a 45,000 square foot facility that is operated with both hand sorting and machinery sorting equipment. The facility is capable of processing 8 tonnes of recyclable material per hour. It has been developed with enough capacity to also accept regional materials from neighbouring municipalities as well as businesses.

The MRF building and equipment has been designed considering quality requirements and incorporating equipment to meet current market demands. The equipment used for the sorting of the materials was supplied by Machinex, a Canadian company from Quebec. It features equipment that will separate cardboard, paper, aluminum, plastic and metal cans. The MRF also includes a baler that compacts the material into a shippable size.

Building the MRF and implementing curbside recycling is an important piece of the City's overall plan for reducing and managing waste.

The MRF is owned by the City of Lethbridge and operated by a private contractor. Construction began on facility in the spring of 2018 and was completed in early 2019 at which time equipment installation and testing began. Since that time, small amounts of recycling have been processed in the MRF from the 900 phase 1 curbside recycling homes as well as the City's three recycling stations. This project was completed on time and on budget.

The City's first curbside recycling pickups will begin between May 14 and 24. Each week, half of the City will have garbage collection and the other half will have recycling pickup. This will ensure the MRF is always receiving a steady stream of recycling material. 

For more information on the ins and outs of curbside recycling visit

Media Contact:
Joel Sanchez, General Manager, Waste and Recycling
City of Lethbridge