New ways of thinking about waste disposal

Recently, a few of my fellow Council members and I attended the 2018 Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual Conference and Tradeshow in Halifax, NS. FCM has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901, whose members include Canada's largest cities, small urban and rural communities, and 20 provincial and territorial municipal associations.

We took part in four days of plenaries, workshops, industry-led seminars and study tours offered by the City of Halifax. There were also a number of valuable networking opportunities.

A study tour I was particularly excited to take part in was on disruptive waste management technologies, presented by Sustaine Technologies Inc. at their facility in Chester, located approximately 65 kilometres from Halifax.
In fact, this tour was one of the primary reasons I attended the FCM conference, and it did not disappoint.

The study tour explored the transition from traditional landfilling to a disruptive recycling technology that is sure to change the way we think about the value locked within our garbage and recyclables.

The Sustane Chester project was launched in September 2016 with an agreement between Sustane Technologies and the District of the Municipality of Chester, NS to divert their landfill-destined municipal solid waste to a Sustane facility.  The project broke ground in March 2017 and is targeted to commence operation in the Summer of 2018.

The plant is designed to transform up to 70,000 tonnes per year of waste into 35,000 tonnes per year of Sustane biomass pellets, 3.5 million litres per year of synthetic diesel fuel and recyclable metals.  It will increase landfill diversion rates for area municipalities from approximately 50 per cent to over 90 per cent.

Cities and towns all across our country are dealing with the challenge of municipal solid waste disposal while trying to address the public’s increasing demand for sustainable waste management solutions. We also face the same issues and challenges in in our region.

I believe that having a facility similar to that in Chester would go a long way in addressing the proper disposal of our municipal solid waste. 

Imagine if we worked together with our neighbouring municipalities to attract such a facility to central Alberta. We would no longer have to send our garbage to landfill, which is wasteful and polluting, or pay tipping fees, which would result in considerable savings.

The facility would be ideally located at the Prentis Transfer Station site, where a number of area municipalities already truck their waste. The proposed recycling facility would take that landfilled waste and transform it into recyclable materials and valuable synthetic fuels that burn cleaner.

I believe that the time is ripe to seriously investigate this emerging market for products made from solid waste. Not only it represents a new opportunity for our region, it will also result in less pollution and healthier, more sustainable communities.  

What do you think? I would love to hear from you. Let’s keep the conversation going; contact me with your thoughts at or call (403)782-1271.
- Mayor Grant Creasey


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