Recycling Round-ups

ARMA has been gathering things for years. Since our inception in 1992, we’ve collected millions tonnes of end-of-life products from Albertans while simultaneously acquiring insight into the changing disposal habits of communities around the province.

 

Understanding consumption patterns allows us to contemplate potential and explore opportunity. With better knowledge about the raw material coming our way, we can be proactive in identifying solutions that protect our environment, create jobs, conserve energy and save natural resources.

One way we learn is by casting a wide net with our Community Round Up events. Local residents are invited to drop off items during a set period of time at a specific location or leave their offerings curbside. These collection days are quite popular – real community events often with BBQs, prizes, stopping to chat with your neighbors – and a great way for smaller communities to ensure potentially hazardous materials and objects do not end up in our landfills.

Over the last three years, ARMA has helped residents of Red Deer and Red Deer County by accepting unlimited amounts of used oil, filters, containers, as well as leftover paint and empty paint cans at no charge. To date, more than 17,000 litres of used oil and 37,330 litres of paint have been diverted from the landfill and given new life.

 

There are two recycling streams for used oil. The high-quality products are re-refined into new lubricating oil and the lower quality oil helps to fuel various industrial applications.

“Motor oil is a great example of a quiet achiever,” says ARMA CEO Ed Gugenheimer. “This versatile product may get dirty over time but it doesn’t actually wear out. It’s an incredibly valuable resource that can be cycled through all sorts of applications if disposed of responsibly.”

It’s not just the liquid that can be salvaged. Oil filters contain reusable scrap metal that can be moved along and incorporated as scrap feed in steel fabrication. Another prominent item at the Round Ups is leftover paint. People like to make the most of the opportunity to offload dusty old cans as well as larger commercial containers that are no longer desired.

“There are various creative uses for unused paint.” explains Gugenheimer. “Leftover latex can be either made into new paint or used as feedstock in cement manufacturing. The plastic paint containers we collect see new life as park benches or planters.”

During an event in October 2020, residents were given the opportunity to recycle expanded polysterene (EPS) thanks to a collaboration with Nova Chemicals, Styro-Go, ARMA and the Alberta Plastics Recycling Association. In addition to bringing in an estimated 125 lbs. of material that will be turned into mouldings for cabinets, tiles, and frames, the EPS pilot generated excitement and knowledge about yet another stream of challenging waste that must be handled with care.

 

For ARMA the Round Ups provide the perfect balance of collection and connection.

 

“Our staff really look forward to these annual events,” says Gugenheimer. “They are more than happy to assist residents as they unload their recycling products and of course to answer any questions and hear fresh ideas about how we can improve Alberta’s recycling programs.”

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