Brady Landfill and Earth Day

On April 21, 2015, in honour of Earth Day, I took a tour of the Brady Landfill, now officially called the Brady Road Resource Management Facility. This towering mountain is close to home for all South Winnipeg residents, but I wonder how many have ever actually driven into the site. I encourage you to do so, and especially take any young people you may know, take your children, take your partner or spouse.  I’ve been to Brady multiple times over the years, and every time it seems like a brand new experience. While photos say a thousand words, they lack the movement and the sounds, and simply cannot convey the size and volume of the landfill.  Hundreds of seagulls, massive huge machines moving garbage, the movement of papers and bags blowing in the wind, and the aroma. And knowing it will continue to grow at this site for the next 100+ years. Quite a moving experience. Here’s a chance to see a virtual tour.

Brady has been the City of Winnipeg’s sole landfill since 1998.  Some interesting facts:

  • The entire site is about 790 hectares (larger than River Heights) – about 1/8 of the site is used for garbage burial
  • Brady handles more than 400,000 tonnes of garbage each year – about 1/3 of this is organic waste
  • The site emits greenhouse gases equal to the annual emissions from about 70,000 passenger vehicles
  • The site produces up to six tanker trucks of leachate each day for treatment (the harmful liquid produced by moisture filtering down through garbage)

While these facts are quite astounding and rather daunting, there is a lot of good work being done by the City with respect to environmental site improvements and overall waste reduction.  As an example, in 1993, 355 kgs of waste (per person) went to Brady Landfill.  By 2013, this amount was reduced to 249 kgs, a decrease of almost 30%!

Innovative processes and work are also underway to develop:

  • A facility to process recyclable materials – 4R Winnipeg
  • A composting facility that would produce material which could be sold, given to the public, or used on City property
  • A “Green Business Park” for local industries that would remake the materials on site into reusable items for sale
  • A research and business development centre
  • A community resource recovery centre – a drop off area for materials that could be processed and reused, resold or recycled (e.g., construction and demolition material, household items, etc.)

The City of Winnipeg has a master plan on dealing with waste as well as an informative website highlighting the many services provided. You can also learn more about how you can reduce your consumption, and increase recycling and reusing initiatives  from our friends at the Green Action Centre.

Reducing our overall consumption is key to keeping our planet vital, alive and healthy.   That’s why each year on April 22, the City of Winnipeg is proud to celebrate Earth Day, the largest environmental event in the world. More than 6 million Canadians participate in Earth Day activities within their communities!

“The City is proud to build a more sustainable and environmentally responsible Winnipeg,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “I encourage everyone to take a few moments to consider your impact on the environment today – even doing something small like turning off the lights when you leave the room makes a big difference.”

The City of Winnipeg is committed to green initiatives all year round. The following are some of the many plans and programs that the City undertakes to help build a more sustainable and environmentally responsible Winnipeg:

 

Community Sustainability Initiatives

  • The City owns and operates a number of LEED-certified buildings, including Sturgeon Heights Community Centre, the East Yard Complex. Other new facilities, such as the Transit Parking and Servicing Garage on Brandon Street are pursuing LEED certification.
  • The City’s first zero-emission battery-electric propulsion transit bus hit the road in November 2014, and is expected to significantly reduce greenhouse gas and smog-causing criteria air contaminant emissions.
  • The City’s first parking-protected bike lane was installed in 2014 on Sherbrook Street between Wolseley Avenue and Brandon Avenue.
  • The UPass program will begin in September 2016, in which all full-time undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Manitoba and The University of Winnipeg will have a bus pass included in their tuition. The UPass helps increase the number of Transit users, which will reduce traffic congestion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Stage 2 of the Southwest Transitway is underway, which will extend rapid transit network from 3.6 kilometres to 11.2 kilometres and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by encouraging Winnipeggers to use public transit through improved travel times and reliability.
  • Announced in Budget 2015, the City will move to 100 per cent biological larviciding, which is shown to be an effective and environmentally-friendly approach to mosquito control.
  • Winnipeg’s waste diversion rate for 2014 was 29.7 per cent, surpassing the target diversion rate of 25 per cent.
  • The City established a new nine-hectare compost pad in 2013. In 2014, almost 30,000 metric tonnes of yard waste was composted, a 28 per cent increase in composting from the year previous.
  • In 2014, the City began work on its Organics Diversion Strategy which will identify a framework and potential options to manage all types of organic material that arrive at the Brady Road Resource Management Facility, including kitchen waste, leaf and yard waste, biosolids, landscaping waste, animal waste, and wood waste.

 

Sustainability in City Operations and Programs

  • Conversion to LED lamps in two Winnipeg arenas.
  • The Bikeshare Pilot Program in the Planning, Property and Development department provides bicycles for staff to use to make short trips for business travel, rather than using their cars.
  • The City’s Business Travel Administrative Standard encourages the choice of low-emission, healthful, and cost-efficient travel during the workday.
  • Composting pilot projects are being introduced in select City of Winnipeg offices.
  • In 2014, the battery recycling program in City offices, Public Libraries, Police Service locations, and Fire Paramedic Stations collected over 4,600 kilograms of batteries for proper recycling through the Call2Recycle program. That’s the equivalent weight of 27,207 hockey pucks!
  • New waste sorting stations have been installed at the Cindy Klassen Recreation Complex.
  • The City’s Planning, Property and Development department has partnered with the Winnipeg Arts Council to create an Artist in Residence program, in which local artist Erika Lincoln is working to enhance public awareness and discussion on the issue of climate change through art. Her work builds on City Council’s commitment to reducing corporate and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions.

 

More information on the City’s Earth Day efforts is available at City of Winnipeg – Earth Day. For information on Earth Day 2015 on April 22, please visit Earth Day Canada.

 

 

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