We spent the entire day at the EWMC. Man that place is huge….550 acres huge and it is North America’s largest collection of modern, sustainable waste processing and research facilities. Rick Mercer even came to Edmonton to do a package on our system. It is quite well done.
EWMC is comprised of the Cloverbar Landfill (closed in 2009) and several amazing facilities:
- Integrated Processing and Transfer Facility
- Materials Recovery Facility, where Edmonton’s recyclables are sorted and baled
- Edmonton Composting Facility, where Edmonton’s waste is composted
- GEEP Electrical and Electronic Waste Recycling Facility, where Edmonton’s electronics are recycled
- Residential Waste Drop Off Station
- Construction and Demolition Recycling Operation
- Leachate Treatment Plant, landfill gas recovery system and biosolids lagoons
- Greys Paper & Glass Recycling Facility
Here is the view from on top of the old landfill site. It is about 10 stories high and gives you the opportunity to view the city skyline, the river and the whole EWMC facility.
At EWMC they recycle the equivalent of 800,000 trees a year. Currently 60% of household waste is diverted from the landfill via recycling and composting. When the waste to biofuels facility is fully operational that number will increase to 90%. It will convert 100,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste into 38 million litres of biofuels annually.
I was most shocked to learn that they take all the yard and garden waste, household organics that they reclaim from our garbage bags and combine that with the biosolids (i.e. poop, toilet paper, etc) that they remove at the water treatment plant and they produce compost. It is bagged and sold to consumers as well as used for municipal gardens.
It was truly overwhelming to see how every bag of household garbage is processed, filtered and sorted to reclaim as much as they can and dramatically reduce how much is divert to landfill. I highly recommend going for a tour. It will really put into perspective how much trash we produce and how it is everyone’s responsibility to look at what they can do to reduce our impact on the environment.