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Date: 2020-09-23 Page is: DBtxt001.php txt00003588

The cost of waste

Report: The Alberta GPI Accounts: Municipal and Hazardous Waste by the Pembina Institure


Peter Burgess

Report: The Alberta GPI Accounts: Municipal and Hazardous Waste by the Pembina Institure

Open Municipal and Hazardous Waste Report 2002

Report #27 of a series of reports prepared by The Pembina Institute for Appropriate Development that define various aspects of the Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) for Alberta Canada

About this Report

This is one of 28 reports that provide the background for the Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) System of Sustainable Well-being Accounts. It explains how we derived the waste indices that were earlier published in “Sustainability Trends 2000: The Genuine Progress Statement for Alberta, 1961 to 1999.” The research for this report was completed near the end of 2000. The appendices provide further background and explanation of our methodology; additional details can be obtained by contacting the authors. Appendix A includes a list of all GPI background reports.

This report examines municipal and hazardous waste in Alberta, and attempts to answer the following questions:

  1. 1. What is the volume of hazardous waste in Alberta? Is it increasing?
  2. 2. How much hazardous waste is treated at the Alberta Special Waste Treatment Centre at Swan Hills, how much is recycled and how much is landfilled?
  3. 3. How much oilfield waste would be classified as hazardous, if oilfield waste were not exempt from classification as hazardous waste?
  4. 4. How much waste is disposed of in deep wells in Alberta?
  5. 5. Given the fact that hazardous waste stored at the site where it is created is not included in the hazardous waste inventory for the province, what figures reported by the National Pollutant Release Inventory can be used to supplement the published hazardous waste data?
  6. 6. What is the extent of contaminated land in Alberta? How much of this land includes sites of former waste deposition, spills and leaks?
  7. 7. What are the economic and environmental costs to society of hazardous wastes in Alberta?
  8. 8. How much municipal waste is disposed of each year in Alberta? How much waste per capita?
  9. 9. How much municipal waste is recycled? How does Alberta compare with other provinces, and what schemes are in operation to recycle municipal waste?
  10. 10. What are the environmental non-market costs to that result from municipal waste?

About the Pembina Institute

The Pembina Institute is an independent, citizen-based organization involved in environmental education, research, public policy development and corporate environmental management services. Its mandate is to research, develop, and promote policies and programs that lead to environmental protection, resource conservation, and environmentally sound and sustainable resource management.

Incorporated in 1985, the Institute’s main office is in Drayton Valley, Alberta with additional offices in Calgary and Ottawa, and research associates in Edmonton, Toronto, Saskatoon, Vancouver and other locations across Canada. The Institute’s mission is to implement holistic and practical solutions for a sustainable world.

The Green Economics Program is dedicated to designing and implementing practical, street-smart economic tools that would reorient society back to the original meaning of the word “economy”—the care and management of the wealth of the household. By developing new tools for measuring the true wealth or well-being of nations, we can help guide Canadians and Albertans to a sustainable future.

For more information on the Pembina Institute’s work, please visit our website at, or contact:
The Pembina Institute
Box 7558
Drayton Valley, AB T7A 1S7
tel: 780-542-6272 /// fax: 780-542-6464

About the Authors

Mary Griffiths joined the Pembina Institute as an Environmental Policy Analyst in May 2000. She brings strong research and policy analysis skills as well as an extensive background and indepth understanding of a wide range of environmental issues. Mary works with the Energy Watch team on environmental and energy advocacy issues and with the Institute’s Green Economics Program on genuine progress indicators for Alberta. She has long been an advocate for the protection of the environment, both in her previous employment and in her volunteer activities. Mary holds a Ph.D. (Medical Geography), University of Exeter, UK and a B.A. (Geography), University of Exeter, UK.

Sara Wilson joined the Pembina Institute in August 2000, as a member of the Green Economics Program. She works on establishing measurements of ecological well-being and community sustainability reflected in genuine progress indicators using time series analysis and valuation methods. Sara aims to promote better physical and economic accounts that will reflect our natural capital, quantitative and qualitative degradation, and the ecological and social costs of losses in ecological integrity. Before joining the Green Economics team, Sara completed the water account and forest account for the Nova Scotia GPI. In addition, she has three years’ experience as a forest ecology researcher and three years’ experience in environmental education. Sara holds the following degrees: MSc.F. (Mixed Boreal Forest Disturbance Ecology), University of Toronto and B.A. Hon. (International Development Studies and Environmental Geography), University of Toronto.

Mark Anielski is Director of the Green Economics team, and has considerable experience in public policy analysis including natural resource, energy, royalty and fiscal policy issues in both the public (Alberta Government) and private (GPC- Government Policy Consultants) sector. He also serves as Senior Fellow to the U.S. economic policy think-tank Redefining Progress in Oakland, California and authored the 1999 U.S. GPI report with journalist Jonathan Rowe. He currently advises the National Round Table on Economy and the Environment’s Sustainable Development Indicator Steering Committee on the development of indicators for measuring sustainability in Canada. Mark teaches business and the environment in the University of Alberta’s School of Business. His expertise is varied and broad including accounting for sustainable development, natural resource accounting, public policy analysis, business planning and performance measurement. Mark pioneered the development of natural capital accounts for Alberta’s timber, oil, gas, coal and other natural capital as well as having experience in the development of performance measurement systems, land use planning and non-market resource valuation, royalty policy analysis (forestry, oil and gas), and analysis of subsidies for both government and private forestry, energy and financial service industries. He holds a Masters degree in forest economics, plus bachelor degrees in economics and forestry.

ThePembina Institute ... Mary Griffiths, Sara Wilson and Mark Anielski
The text being discussed is available at

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