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Here's what's going to happen to your garbage in Iqaluit

The City of Iqaluit has revealed more details about its plans for the new landfill, including that it will divert 44 per cent of its waste away from the landfill into recycling initiatives.

City will divert 44% of its waste away from the landfill into recycling initiatives

Prep work on the new landfill site has begun. The plan calls for a 20,000-square-feet sorting centre in town, a new landfill site, and the closing of the current dump in the West 40 area. (David Gunn/CBC)

The City of Iqaluit gave more details about the plans for its new landfill at a recent public consultation.

The plan calls for a 20,000-square-foot sorting centre in town, a new landfill site, and the closing of the current dump in the West 40 area.

The city's deputy mayor Romeyn Stevenson said Iqaluit's current dump reached capacity about five years ago.

"There is garbage on the ground, it's visibly unpleasant, but it's also polluting our environment, because bags are blowing down onto the ice and into the bay ... garbage is not contained in our current site," he said.

That won't be the case when the new site opens in the fall of 2020, Stevenson said. The city's mayor Madeleine Redfern said this summer that the new facility on Upper Base Road will cost about $35 million.

At first, there won't be much different for residents, whose garbage will still be picked up as usual — but the processing will change.

Romeyn Stevenson, Iqaluit's deputy mayor, says work to close the current dump site has already begun. (Travis Burke/CBC)

Garbage will go to the sorting plant, be crushed into blocks around one-metre cubed, wrapped in plastic and put on a truck.

When the truck is full it will head to the landfill, where blocks will be unloaded and stacked. Once a section of the landfill is full it will be covered over.

"A huge difference with this new system is when garbage is bailed, it's in a building — so nothing will escape the building," Stevenson said.

"By the time it goes up to the landfill, it's in a completely contained cubed unit, and no garbage will be blowing around." 

44% of waste recycled

Iqaluit will be diverting 44 per cent of its waste away from the landfill into recycling initiatives.

The waste transfer, or sorting, plant will separate recyclables, hazardous materials and electronics, organics, and waste — though that will be phased in.

Plastic and metal recycling will be phased in after 2020, as will composting. Tires and steel will eventually be sent South to be recycled.

Cardboard and wood will also be made into pellets, which will be burned to heat the sorting facility.

"I'm excited for the time [after] 2020, when we actually get to the point where we're doing some more innovative things with our garbage than just the separation," Stevenson said.

He hopes the city will be able to sell extra pellets to heat other buildings. In the future, as the city progresses with recycling, residents may also be asked to do more waste sorting in their homes.

Eventually, Iqaluit residents may be asked to do more waste sorting in their homes. (David Gunn/CBC)

Current landfill to close

Work to close the current landfill has already begun, Stevenson said. The city started this summer to build berms to keep water running off the dump from contaminating its surroundings.

Once the new dump is opened, this dump will be covered over to look like any other hill, though it will still have a fence around it.

The city plans to submit the proposal for the new dump this month to the Nunavut Planning Commission and the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

The project was jointly funded by the territorial government and the city of Iqaluit, with about $26.5 million coming from the government of Canada.

With files from Toby Otak

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