Hazardous Waste Recycling
(Updated October 2012)
Hazardous waste is any substance going for disposal, which can be harmful to people, plants, animals or the environment. A waste is defined as hazardous waste if it shows one or more of the following characteristics: toxicity, flammability, corrosivity or reactivity.
When these substances are going for disposal they are called wastes. However, many can be managed as a resource for further beneficial use and then we call them hazardous recyclables. Hazardous recyclables include substances such as used oil and lead acid batteries.
What does the indicator show?
This indicator shows the annual rate of hazardous waste recycling in Alberta from 1991 to 2011.
Note that single projects involving large quantities of waste for disposal can influence these numbers. For example, a large project in 1995 affected the percentage for that year. When a large chemical manufacturing plant went out of service in 2000 and 2001, it affected the numbers for those years.
Hazardous Waste Generation
The data up to 2006 are from summary statistics collected from the Hazardous Waste Manifest System. This system tracks the generation, movement and final destination of hazardous waste in Alberta. Data from 2007 onward are compiled from monthly and annual hazardous waste reports submitted to Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. A reduction in hazardous waste generation was observed in 2008 and 2009, but increased again in 2010 and 2011, possibly related to the general economic slowdown in those two years and a return to more normal conditions in 2010 and 2011.
The manifest system tracks the types and quantities of hazardous waste that are shipped within Alberta, imported into the province and exported. The data does not include oil field waste, which is regulated by Alberta Energy and the Energy Resources Conservation Board under Directive 58. It also does not include waste produced in very small monthly quantities (less than five litres or five kilograms), or hazardous wastes treated or processed at the site where they were originally created. As well, the data does not include hazardous recyclables directed to facilities that do not require an approval under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
What actions are being taken?
Alberta has a comprehensive regulatory framework for hazardous waste management. The province also has a network of 54 facilities that are approved to manage hazardous waste and hazardous recyclables. The Swan Hills Treatment Centre is the only approved hazardous waste treatment facility in the province. There are two Class I landfills for hazardous waste, plus a wide array of operators involved in the storage, transportation and processing of hazardous waste.
Alberta’s Waste Strategy: Too Good to Waste identifies the outcomes and actions needed to help Alberta advance innovative approaches to waste management, recycling and resource recovery to reduce waste disposal.