Team Lead, Pollution Prevention and Conservation, Alberta Environment

About 25 per cent of the waste that goes to municipal landfills comes from construction and demolition (C&D).

"In 2006 alone, more than 850,000 tonnes of C&D waste went into our landfills," says Christine Della Costa, team lead, pollution prevention and conservation, Alberta Environment.

Della Costa is working to change that, leading an initiative to create a provincial recycling program that will, once all the hurdles have been cleared, see much of this waste diverted from landfills. If approved, the provincially regulated program will be the first of its kind in Canada and could be launched in 2010.

A "It's challenging because there's so many details that we have to figure out as we go along," Della Costa says. "But that's one of the things that I find makes it a lot of fun too."

A former park ranger and environmental educator, Della Costa has spent the past six years developing policy or regulations to reduce the waste going into provincial landfills as mandated by the province's overall waste strategy, Too Good to Waste.

Her experience developing other recycling programs, including Alberta's electronics recycling program, will help ensure this new program works for all stakeholders in practice and not just in theory. Consultation with experts and parties that might be affected by the program is a big part of her job, and she's delighted with the level of industry participation.

"They really have this 'roll up your sleeves and figure out how to get'er done' mentality, which is great," she says of the industry members she works with.

"If there's something they think is unworkable about what's being proposed, they're quick to tell me that, but also to suggest other possible solutions. The on-the-ground expertise provided by people working in the industry is also crucial as the program is developed."

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