Iqaluit prepares recycling, garbage separation programs

Iqaluit’s solid waste management committee is moving quickly to limit open burning at Town dump.



IQALUIT — With only three months to go before open-burning will be limited at the Iqaluit dump, Iqaluit Town Council is hoping residents will jump on the garbage-separation and recycling bandwagon.

When Iqaluit was granted its water licence in January, one of the strict requirements laid out by the Nunavut Water Board was that no plastics be burned at the dump after June 1. Open-burning will be restricted to food waste, paper, cardboard and untreated wood.

That gives the town council only three months to come up with a program to separate plastics from other materials in the dump, and to get residents to do the same with their own household garbage.

Stu Kennedy, a town councillor and head of the committee that deals with solid waste management, said the Town is launching a campaign to inform residents about garbage separation.

“It’s really a plea to the community to jump onboard and assist in developing a better environment for themselves,” he said.

In limiting the burning of plastics, the Nunavut water board hoped to address concerns of public health.

The water board, in its report, noted: “We know from the evidence that there are significant quantities of waste going into the landfill without being subjected to a proper recycling program or environmental sorting program.”

Residents have expressed concerns that with the arrival of Iqaluit’s pop bottling plant, there’s been more plastic ending up at the dump. Currently, there’s no facility in Iqaluit where those plastic bottles or other plastics could be recycled.

Kennedy said the committee agrees with the board’s policies on open-burning. He said limiting the amount of toxic fumes going into the air will benefit Iqalungmiut’s health.

“I think these are conditions that were reviewed in the past and they just make sense in terms of public safety and public health,” he said.

“We should look at all sorts of ways to reduce the burning of any possible contaminants.”

Kennedy figures that with enough public support, the Town should be able to comply with open-burning policy by June 1.

Too much garbage

Besides its plans to separate plastics from other wastes, the Town is also running a paper-recycling program.

Burning paper and other waste has been the Town’s solution to getting rid of the growing mound of garbage at the dump. The current dump is expected to be full by October.

Kennedy said the paper recycling should help cut down on the amount of waste at the dump and on the need to burn so much garbage.

Around 300 recycling boxes will be distributed to offices around town. People in the young offenders program will collect the paper and First Air will fly it to a recycling plant near Ottawa.

“That’s one positive step. That effort in itself will reduce the amount of burning required in a small way,” Kennedy said.

The Iqaluit council will officially launch the recycling program in the next few weeks.

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