Ways to refresh Cochrane's zero waste framework are being explored to further increase the amount of waste being diverted from landfills.

Town waste and recycling manager Fabrizio Bertolo says 65 per cent of waste generated in Cochrane is being diverted from landfills, making it one of the most successful programs in Alberta. But in recent years, he says the rate of diversion has plateaued and they are exploring new ways to reduce it further.

A survey conducted in October saw respondents express a similar concern.

"An overwhelming majority of our residents find the current cart system easy to use--89 per cent of the respondents--but they are concerned about the amount of waste and single-use items that we're currently sending to landfill," Bertolo told council at its May 1 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

"Eighty per cent of the respondents think that we're sending too much waste to landfill, and 85 per cent are concerned about the single-use items that we're currently sending to landfill. So this is another reason why we can do better with our products and services." 

Aiding with the revision is in-person resident and business engagements around potential future programs. That includes availability at the Chamber Trade Show this weekend at the SLS Centre.

Bertolo told council the initial stakeholder engagements saw preliminary information gathered about current rates of recycling, composting, and Eco Centre programs and to understand waste diversion from their perspective. He says the information will prove valuable in drafting new strategies and programs for future discussion and consideration.

Revising the framework will also allow for a further alignment with town strategic priorities and best practices, be consistent with federal, provincial and local context, and consider circular economy policies.

So far, a review of the existing programs and services of town's operations, waste and recycling department has been completed, a residential waste composition study completed, the first round of residential and commercial stakeholder engagement have been conducted, and research completed on best practices.

The resulting recommendations are expected to be presented to council for consideration in the fall.