Thirty car batteries, 21 propane cylinders, and 2,000 litres of waste oil later, the Kátł’odeeche First Nation (KFN) has declared its first-ever hazardous waste drive a success.

The week-long drive ran on the Hay River Reserve in mid-August, with the First Nation urging residents to bring things like old batteries, chemicals, and electronic waste to the community’s Arbour.

In a news release this week, Patrick Riley – KFN’s environmental program manager – said the drive had successfully unearthed and removed almost two tonnes of household hazard waste, roughly double initial expectations.

Advertisement. Story continues below

“We were able to teach a lot of people the effects of hazardous waste, and what can and cannot be put into the landfill,” Riley told Cabin Radio.

“It would be great to be able to increase the amount of people with that knowledge. The more people who keep hazardous waste from the landfill, the better.

“This project directly removed 2,000 litres of waste leachate oil, glycol and mixed waste, 30 old car batteries, 21 empty propane cylinders, various small quantities of aerosols, alkaline batteries, paint, and adhesives from the community and from the Hay River Landfill, which is an unlined landfill.”

Catherine Heron, the band manager, added: “This was the first time we had an event like this. I think it increased awareness in our community and it is an important step in our waste reduction goals.”

Riley said the waste was collected and transported to the KBL lot in Yellowknife, where it is being disposed of according to the territory’s hazardous waste regulations.

“We delivered the waste to Yellowknife as they have line haz waste disposal,” he said. “The Hay River site does not. We did not want to just put this haz waste right back into our environment.”

This project was supported by the territorial government’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Initiative, which provides up to $50,000 in funding to municipalities, Indigenous governments, schools, and similar organizations.

The First Nation says it will now work on a waste management capacity-building project, funded by the federal government, during the fall and winter.