Businesses need to have recycling plans by end of the year
Okotoks: Town expanding waste programs to business sector
Wednesday, Feb 21, 2018 06:00 am
Okotoks businesses need to have a plan in place by the end of the year to keep recyclable and organic waste out of the landfill.
The Town of Okotoks is requiring businesses in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors to have a three-stream waste program in place by the end of the year.
Paul Lyons, waste services manager, said it’s the next phase in the development of the Town’s waste management program, which has, to this point, focused on residential properties.
He said the Town will meet with businesses in the coming months to discuss the changes and provide any recommendations.
“Over the next six months or so we will be doing that so that we can better understand what each business is doing so we can provide information to them that will make them successful in the program,” said Lyons.
He said businesses will all have different needs for recycling and organic waste disposal and the Town is committed to working with them.
“Businesses on the whole are different in what kind of waste they produce so the aim is not to say ‘you need to have three carts,’” he said. “The aim is really to say ‘what do you have do to divert that waste.’”
This includes construction and demolition waste. Lyons said the Town will work with contractors.
“That is an area that we’ll have to spend a little bit more time working with that sector,” he said.
He estimates between 55 and 65 per cent of waste comes from businesses.
“That number is hard to say, typically if you say 65 per cent of waste is from ICI sector you’d be very close,” he said.
The president of the Okotoks Chamber of Commerce said it’s no surprise that businesses will be included in the Town’s waste management plans.
“The Town has always said it was going to roll this into businesses, so now’s the time,” said Sara Noyes, Okotoks chamber president.
However, they will need time to adjust, she said.
Noyes said the Town needs to approach businesses as a partner by offering guidance and tolerance over the coming months.
“It needs to be slow and steady wins the race,” she said. “The Town needs to understand that businesses are in a tough spot right now and businesses need to understand the leadership is required and it’s time to do these things like the residents are.”
As general manager of Cactus Club Salon and Spa, Noyes said the business has taken steps to ensure it limits what goes into the landfill. This included finding a way to handle some of its waste that can’t go into recycling or compost, such as hair, wax strips or bottles used for hair colouring.
“We do work in an industry that is very unique in terms of its waste,” she said. “There are many things that we dispose of here that cannot be recycled in a traditional way, regardless or how extensive the programs are.”
Noyes said the salon has partnered with a company, Green Circle, that picks up all of its recycling as well as more complicated items to dispose of.
The salon charges a $2 environmental stewardship fee to cover costs of recycling and disposing waste.
Part of the fee goes to Green Circle for disposal costs and part is used at the salon to implement green initiatives, such as purchasing environmentally-friendly cleaners, installing LED lighting or buying high-efficiency appliances.