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Waste Management Fund to support researchers

Sept. 1, 2010

A new research partnership was announced today between the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) and Memorial University’s Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development (Harris Centre) to stimulate research into Newfoundland and Labrador’s waste management needs and opportunities. The new waste management research fund has been established with $300,000 in funding through MMSB’s Waste Management Trust Fund.

"One of government’s critical roles in advancing the Provincial Solid Waste Management Strategy is to identify solutions to the unique waste diversion challenges that exist in our province, and research plays a critical role in this process," said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation. "The partnership with the Harris Centre will result in tangible lessons to help us improve and accelerate waste management activities in Newfoundland and Labrador."

The fundamental goal of the Provincial Solid Waste Management Strategy is to divert 50 per cent of material going to landfills and implement full province-wide modern waste management by 2020.

"Memorial has traditionally played a role in addressing issues of importance to the province, and waste management is an issue that has major implications for small municipalities and larger towns in Newfoundland and Labrador," said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor of Memorial University. "We care about sustainability and environmental stewardship and this new waste management fund will help stimulate innovative, community-engaged research aimed at reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill sites."

The objectives of the research fund include developing an inventory of issues relating to waste management in the province; translating these issues into research opportunities at each stage of the waste management process; and producing a number of new waste management solutions for Newfoundland and Labrador. The fund will be modelled similar to other research partnership programs managed by the Harris Centre. Memorial faculty and graduate students will have the opportunity to apply for project funding, up to a maximum of $15,000 per project. The total operating cost contribution by the MMSB is $100,000 annually for each of the next three years.

"Emphasis will be placed on reducing the amount of waste created, reusing materials and products, recycling or reprocessing waste, recovering some useful benefit from waste and disposing of waste that has no further economic or environmental benefit," said Leigh Puddester, chair and CEO of the MMSB. "We are very excited by this unique partnership that will, undoubtedly, produce some interesting results."

Harris Centre Director Dr. Robert Greenwood explained: "The program will consist of two key pillars: research and dialogue. Each will inform the other, so that dialogue and consultation shape research questions, leading to new ideas which then encourage further research to achieve implementation. The research may relate to policy issues, regional or local management, or technology and best practices."

A steering committee will advise the Harris Centre on the co-ordination of the waste management research fund initiatives, and will consist of representatives from numerous sectors including the MMSB, Department of Environment and Conservation, Department of Municipal Affairs, Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, MITACS Inc. Newfoundland and Labrador and the Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Interested Memorial researchers are invited to attend an informational workshop about the fund on Monday, Sept. 13, in the Beatrice Watts Boardroom.

Please RSVP to Karen Follett at kfollett@mun.ca.

 


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