Ecology North to host meeting on idea for regional recycling facility

NNSL file photo Marissa Oteiza, the manager of the Ecology North office in Hay River, has organized a public meeting in Enterprise.

NNSL file photo
Marissa Oteiza, the manager of the Ecology North office in Hay River, has organized a public meeting in Enterprise.

Ecology North will host a public meeting in Enterprise on Oct. 19 to discuss the idea of establishing a regional waste transfer station in that community.

“Basically, it’s just a big idea right now,” said Marissa Oteiza, manager of the Ecology North office in Hay River.

A waste transfer station would be a kind of recycling facility – a building where people from surrounding communities could bring their recyclable materials, which would be re-used or sorted, stored and then shipped out.

Oteiza said Enterprise would be a great place to have a transfer station

“Right now, Yellowknife and Hay River do most of the recycling in the Northwest Territories but even then we’re pretty limited to what we could be doing,” she said. “A lot of smaller communities are having to somehow get their materials to Yellowknife so they’re not being thrown in the garbage. Kakisa is one that has reached out to Ecology North before because they don’t want to be throwing their plastic bottles away and they need a place to bring their recyclable materials. So basically we’re trying to problem solve for all the smaller communities in the South Slave and surrounding area.”

A waste transfer station would be more comprehensive than just recycling bottles and cans.

“We’d like to see it include Styrofoam and cardboard, and it would be nice to have a re-use centre,” said Oteiza, listing possible reusable materials as cans, jars, egg cartons, paper rolls and wood. “Things that they would normally throw away. Then you would have kind of the swap shop type of thing going on. So you would have hours where it’s open to the public to come and grab what they need or drop off what they have, which could be used for school crafts or after-school clubs.”

What cannot be re-used would be packaged and shipped south.

Oteiza said cardboard and paper waste can be use in composters, whether small-scale backyard composting or larger-scale composting like at the Northern Farm Training Institute (NFTI) in Hay River.

The meeting is set for Oct. 19, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Enterprise Community Hall.

Oteiza is hoping to see representatives of Enterprise, Kakisa, K’atlodeeche First Nation, Fort Smith, Fort Resolution, Hay River and Fort Providence at the meeting.

“It’s definitely an idea that’s worth talking about,” said Kim Rapati, the operations manager with NFTI. “I know that transfer stations work really well in the Yukon.”

In fact, she visited the Mount Lorne Transfer Station there.

“Their transfer station is just amazing,” she said. “It’s got a really nice flow to it. You enter in one direction and there’s all the different recycling and waste diversion options right before you get to the garbage. So it kind of forces you to go through and see how you can divert waste from the landfill before you stop at the garbage.”

If materials end up as garbage, it is compacted and taken to the Whitehorse landfill.

“I think it’s a great way to promote waste diversion and to help people in other communities have other options,” said Rapati.

Oteiza explained that Ecology North celebrates Waste Reduction Week – this year from Oct. 17 to 22 – with a variety of events to promote reducing waste.

–Paul Bickford