Alberta strives to achieve sustainable waste management practices. This is done in part by following a waste management hierarchy seeking to:
- reduce waste
- re-use materials
- recycle materials
The hierarchy emphasizes waste reduction as the most desirable option, followed by re-use, recycling, and finally disposal as the least desirable. The challenge for all Albertans is to implement more desirable material management strategies and work towards a zero-waste society.
Waste management is a shared responsibility between the 3 levels of of Government. Alberta uses a variety of policy approaches to assist Albertans reach zero-waste, including:
- Regulated Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Systems
- Regulated stewardship programs
- Pilot and voluntary programs
Waste reduction encourages the more effective use of natural resources and prevents the generation of waste in the first place. Reduction is at the top of the waste hierarchy as it is the most effective method of pollution prevention and is often the most cost-effective waste management option in the long term.
Waste reduction means using processes, practices, materials, or products to avoid or minimize the creation of waste or environmental disturbance, and reduce risk to human health or the environment.
This involves items being used again for the same or different purposes with the objective of long-term cost savings. Re-use is higher up the hierarchy than recycling as recycling often consumes energy and can produce residuals that require managing. Re-use also includes value retention processes, whereby products can repaired or remanufactured to extend a products lifespan.
As part of achieving the goals outlined in the Too Good to Waste Strategy, Alberta will continue to develop and implement recycling programs for target materials. Together a strong, responsible, province wide approach will help to protect and conserve our resources.
Value of organics waste should be recovered through composting where appropriate. Energy recovery should only be considered for materials with high heat value and where no viable recycling options are available.
The disposal of waste in its final resting place means that there is no added value derived from the material. For more information on waste disposal, see:
Funding for waste and recycling initiatives
The Government of Alberta does not provide grants or direct funding for waste and recycling initiatives. We encourage Albertans and businesses to take the initiative to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills.
The following resources are available for businesses seeking assistance with funding opportunities.
- The Business Link has a variety of resources available, including potential funding sources for small and medium-sized businesses. It is a not-for-profit organization supported by the Government of Canada and Government of Alberta.
- Community Futures is a not-for-profit organization guided by volunteer boards of directors and staffed with business professionals. They offer a variety of small business loan products.