Provincial Commitment to Transition to an Extended Producer Responsibility for Household Hazardous Waste Program

Subject Environment
Year 2021
Status Adopted - Active
Sponsor - Mover
Alberta Urban Municipalities Association
Active Clauses

IT IS THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the AUMA request the Government of Alberta provide bridge funding to support the HHW collection until a permanent EPR household hazardous waste program is in place.

Whereas Clauses

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta’s Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Program has provided funding to encourage municipalities to separate household hazardous waste from the overall municipal waste stream since 1998;

WHEREAS Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) launched a public engagement seeking stakeholder input to enable an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy on packaging and paper products, and HHW;

WHEREAS Alberta Infrastructure (AI) decided to end its financial support to the Swan Hills Treatment Centre effective June 1, 2021, and in doing so it ended 30 years of support for helping properly dispose of HHW materials in Alberta;

WHEREAS municipalities are concerned that AI’s cancellation of financial support is leaving municipalities to make up for an approximately $2 million shortfall to continue this service at the exact time the province is transitioning to a permanent EPR HHW Program.

Resolution Background

The HHW Program has traditionally been funded by three entities:

  • AEP provides funding for two aspects of the program:
    • Approximately $1.5 million (2016-17[1]) for material consolidation from municipalities and transportation to the Swan Hills Treatment Centre (The Centre),
    • Approximately $480,000 (2016-17) for material disposal at the Centre.
  • AI has subsidized (about $1.5 million in 2016-17) the cost of material disposal at the  Centre by waiving the disposal fees.
  • Municipalities fund a significant portion of HHW collection and are often a part of material transportation.

On June 1, 2021, AI reduced funding to the Centre. The decision led to layoffs impacting all local communities in the area. Prior to the layoffs, the Centre employed around 100 employees, with the majority living in Swan Hills. AI’s decision also affected the province-wide collection of HHW materials. The cut has resulted in downloading approximately $2 million per year to municipalities. Municipalities already contributing are now expected to carry an additional financial burden to transport the materials out of the province. In the past, the HHW created in Alberta was treated properly here and was not directed to local landfills and transfer stations.

The Government of Alberta is sending contradictory policy directions to Albertans. One ministry is creating EPR policies to expand recycling while another is putting up barriers to Albertans wanting to do the right thing by recycling their HHW.

Municipalities support an EPR HHW program, but a program could be a few years away. Local governments are already one of the funding partners of the HHW Program. They need the provincial government to partner to encourage Albertans not to dispose of HHW in their garbage during this transition period and develop a transition plan to ensure an EPR program can be launched as soon as possible.

[1] Available data published by the Government of Alberta:

Alberta Municipalities notes

ABmunis’ Rating of the Government’s Response
Accepts government response—no further action required

On May 11, 2023, ABmunis received notification that additional HHW bridge funding for 2023-2024 will be sought by Alberta Environment and Protected Areas to cover costs until the Extended Producer Responsibility transition is complete. For more context on this priority initiative, visit ABmunis’ Waste Management Hub.