Alberta Dairy Council Milk Container Recycling Program

Municipal Partnership Initiative

Municipal Partnerships Initiative (MPI) is a working group of municipal recycling professionals. It was launched in October 2002 in accordance with the Milk Container Recycling Program’s long-term strategic plan. The MPI was developed as a means to identify, develop and re-invest in select operational initiatives to minimize costs of municipal collection and increase the recovery of milk containers in Alberta.

The goals of MPI are to increase the recovery of milk containers, to increase access to milk container recycling opportunities, to reduce municipalities’/Recycling Authorities’ net costs of recycling milk containers, and to facilitate the implementation of program improvements. MPI aims to achieve these goals by working with municipalities to identify and invest in system improvements, by helping to develop end markets for collected materials, and by establishing baseline information and measures of program performance.

To fulfill this mandate, MPI is led by a small group of municipal recycling coordinators that oversees a dedicated annual budget subject to guidelines and criteria set out in the initiative’s charter. Since inception, the MPI Working Group has spearheaded a variety of initiatives that include the following:

If you are interested in learning more about these studies, please contact Roberta Windrum at the Alberta Dairy Council Milk Container Recycling Program: 1.877.414.5847, or

Waste Audits

Under the auspices of the Municipal Partnerships Initiative Group, the program has undertaken a number of residential waste audits for the purpose of gaining insight into the number of milk containers in the waste stream. These audits have subsequently led to the commissioning of a High Population Corridor (HPC) Study and an Industrial Commercial Institution (ICI) Study.

ICI Study

The ADC has identified that recycling practices were less effective in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors than for single family dwellings. In an effort to address this gap, the ADC commissioned BearingPoint to review the ICI sector with regards to milk consumption and milk container recycling with the goal of developing recommendations to improve milk container recycling in the ICI sector. A Coffee Shop Milk Container Collection Pilot Program in a select number of coffee shops in Calgary and Edmonton was introduced in July 2007 as a result of the outcome of the ICI Study.

Coffee House Pilot

The Milk Container Recycling in the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Market Sectors (ICI) Study commissioned by the Municipal Partnerships Initiative (MPI) Group was completed in February 2007. This study revealed that coffee shops generate an estimated 147 tonnes of milk container waste. Given this situation, the Alberta Dairy Council Milk Container Recycling Program in conjunction with the MPI group decided to launch a pilot program to monitor actual generation and recovery of used milk containers in addition to evaluating the cost effectiveness of collecting these containers in several coffee shop locations throughout Calgary and Edmonton.

High Population Corridor Study

The purpose of the HPC Study was to identify practices that are currently in place, what practices are generating the highest recovery rates, and opportunities to share these practices with other Alberta communities to increase overall recoveries throughout the province. One of the key recommendations to be implemented as a result of the study was to engage a Municipal Champion to liaise with municipalities and local authorities at all levels to better engage these individuals in each community to implement actions to increase respective recovery of empty milk containers.

Rack & Bag

Under the Collection Only Option, the ADC supplies participating Recycling Authorities (RAs) with a metal rack constructed of square tubing and re-useable poly bags. The RA is responsible for setting up the ‘rack and bag’ and removing and storing full bags of material prior to pick-up. Full bags of milk containers will be collected in accordance with a coordinated scheduled pick up. The RA also ensures there is minimal contamination in the bags of collected milk containers.

Collection Only

The ADC recognized that the initial program provided a lesser benefit for small and rural programs that do not have adequate equipment or facilities and have to absorb the costs of transporting loosely collected milk jugs to the nearest market or processor. Accordingly, an alternate collection option was implemented. The ‘Collection Only’ option allows Recycling Authorities to forego top-up payments in favor of no-fee pickup and transportation services. The ADC provides these Recycling Authorities with bags, bag holders and signs to facilitate start-up and works with them in developing an acceptable pick-up schedule.