To many of us the northern expanses of Canada hold some idyll of cleanliness and tranquillity. However, even in the most remote areas of the world, waste is a problem.
Canada’s NWT and Nunavut Need Recycling Stewardship
At a recent gathering in Yellowknife, Dawn Tremblay, presented a paper on how the North West Territory (NWT) handles waste. Tremblay acknowledged the logistics issues for remote territories such as the NWT and Nunavut, but claimed that looking to successful waste stewardship schemes in other Canadian provinces should give a guide to the solution.
Canadians divert approximately nine million tonnes of organic and recyclable waste from our landfills. From coast to coast to coast, municipalities are struggling to adapt to changing consumer behaviours and to properly collect, sort, clean and repurpose waste.
A key component to building a circular economy is that producers responsibly manage the waste created by their products. “Watching Our Waste-Line” is a policy paper from Dawn Tremblay, a recent alumna of the Jane Glassco Northern Fellowship program. In her paper, Tremblay looks at how her Territory manages electronics, tyres, and how her hometown of Yellowknife manages organic waste.
In respect of tyre waste Tremblay believes that the NWT can replicate successful tyre-recycling programmes found across Canada. The NWT and Nunavut are the only Canadian jurisdictions without tyre stewardship programs.
“Sometimes tyres go directly into the landfill and sometimes they are piled in a separate area,” Tremblay writes. “Tyres are flammable and piles of tyres are a breeding ground for mosquitoes when water pools in them. If they burn the resulting toxins reduce air quality and can cause health and safety problems.”
Her recommendation is to implement a tyre stewardship programme similar to those across Canada. A fee – typically ranging from $3 to $7 for passenger vehicle or light truck tyres – could be charged at the point of purchase with revenues being used to finance recycling. It is a similar strategy to the NWT’s successful approach to divert beer and wine bottles from landfills.