The Edson and District Recycling Society pioneers in recycling
“When it comes to reuse and recycling in our province, EDRS are well respected pioneers,” says Ed Gugenheimer, Chief Executive Office of the Alberta Recycling Management Authority (ARMA). “They have been registered with ARMA since 2004 and are continuing to have a tremendous impact.”
The Society manages collection sites for electronics, paint and motor oil (as well as household hazardous waste) in Edson along with a co-located reuse centre that accepts used household items and building materials. It is easily one of the busiest places in town. The EDRS also oversees collections sites for Hinton and Yellowhead County.
“The volume of activity is a great reinforcement that we are on the right track,” says EDRS Manager, Annie Auriat. “Community engagement and participation are crucial components of recycling so it’s very encouraging to see the steady stream of people making use of our local facilities.”
Auriat is passionate about sharing her message and teaching others. She regularly works with students from the local high school and post-secondary institutions on their summer break. The recycling ambassador roles she oversees are often the stepping stone for a rewarding career in waste management. “For many it’s simply about learning the value they can add,” explains Auriat. “We are always eager to help raise awareness and increase understanding within the community.”
EDRS is an invaluable resource for the region who take pride in their community involvement, education programs and local partnerships and offer a myriad of programming including in-class presentations and hands-on learning experiences, community garden activities and an interpretive area, monthly Senior’s Day events, an Environment Discovery Trailer for mobile education and event opportunities as well as school waste diversion programs across Edson, the flagship pilot of which won an R’s of Excellence award from the Recycling Council of Alberta (RCA) in 2019.
These programs plays an integral role in reconnecting citizens with their environment in order to foster a culture of environmental sustainability. The effects seen from their programs spreads throughout the region where many of the programs are delivered to youth and is maintained as they grow, building an environmentally conscious community by educating from the youngest up to the eldest. At the recycling depot in Edson, they also take action to be environmental stewards and set a positive example. The depot is painted with eco-paint, a recycled paint product, and each building uses recycled tire shingles funded by the ARMA demonstration grant.
In 2016, the EDRS facilitated the town’s first curbside pilot. The local wrestling team was mobilized along with helpful parent volunteers who gathered electronics over the course of a weekend. The event was a success and the town has continued to build on this momentum with seasonal round-ups each year.
“Our fall event will once again give people the opportunity to offload any items that are taking up precious space in their homes and offices,” says Auriat. “These round-ups are integral because they generate materials that benefit our community, economy and environment.”