Study to determine direction of MRF
Foothills: Regional material recovery facility program to be investigated further
Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018 11:28 am
Regional municipalities are working together to form a committee that will oversee the possibility of a local recycling facility.
A regional material recovery facility (MRF) was first proposed by the Town of Okotoks in 2016 and area municipalities looked into the possibility of erecting a facility in the Foothills that would collect, sort and handle recycling materials. The study was conducted by Calgary-based Tetra Tech and included a recommendation that a technical advisory group be struck to oversee the MRF project.
The technical advisory group includes representation from Okotoks, High River, MD of Foothills, Black Diamond and Turner Valley.
“We’re determining a terms of reference for the group to go forward,” said Okotoks waste manager Paul Lyons. “Then we’re hoping that we’ll be able to now develop a service model to meet the needs of each of the member municipalities.”
It will include designing a collection model for the service type that best suits all regional partners and doing asset management inventory to understand the resources and assets each municipal member has, he said.
To conduct the study, the technical advisory group is seeking a grant for $165,000, which would allow it to bring in contractors with expertise in the field to help develop best practices and present back to the Foothills Regional Service Commission, he said.
“This will allow the region to determine, based on its current size and projection, will it be more feasible to have our own facility or truck the materials to a local MRF in Calgary,” said Lyons.
He said a regional MRF in the Foothills could be beneficial in light of recent policies passed by the Chinese government, as it would give local municipalities more control over their materials and potentially make them more marketable.
“Smaller facilities may nit be constrained by production targets and could prove to be beneficial from the standpoint of the quality of the materials, if there are no high targets to be achieved,” said Lyons.
That’s not to say the regional MRF wouldn’t have production targets of its own, he said. The goal of the facility would be to at least break even so residents aren’t left holding the bag, he said.
With the right plan in place, a regional MRF stands to benefit the Foothills by further reducing the environmental footprint and impact on the landfill, he said.
Having a consultant work closely with the technical advisory group will help develop a solid plan, he said.
“We would be able to make a decision that would be in the interest of all the members, but implemented over a period of time for the benefit of the region as it grows,” said Lyons. “The planning has to be long-term and not short-term.”